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ORTH CAROLINA 1780-1781 



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S OUT H E'K >" PROVIIV ( ' E S , 





This volume, "North Carolina 1780- 
1781", by David Schenck is a history 
of the invasion of the Carolinas by 
the Briiish Army under Lord Corn- 
wallis with special emphasis on the 
Battle of Guilford Courthouse leading 
up to Yorktown. 

It is No. 6 in the Heritage Series 
of reprints on North Carolina in the 
Colonial and Revolutionary period. 
-Also, it is one of another series on 
major battles and campaigns of the 
Revolution and part of a still larger 
reprinting on Colonial and Revolution- 
ary America in general. 

Already completed and available 
in a projected 100 or more volumes 
are basic histories on North Carolina, 
New York, Pennsylvania, New Jer- 
sey, South Carolina, Virginia and 
Georgia. We already are working on 
basic New England volumes to com- 
plete the coverage of the original 13 

Six volumes on Women of Colonial 
and Revolutionary Times have been 
added for their historical and social 
value and the light they shed on the 
manners and customs, the ways of 
life and the modes of thought of the 
people of Puritan, Knickerbocker and 
Cavalier origins. The books are on 
Eliza Pinckney of South Carolina, 
Martha Washington and Dolly Madi- 
son of Virginia, Margaret Winthrop 
and Mercy Warren of Massachusetts, 
and Catherine Schuyler of New York. 
They were originally printed in the 
late 1890s by Scribners. 

Also, "The Heads of Families, 
First Census of the United States 
1790", a 12 - volume set covering all 
available records of the first listing 
of the people in America, has been 
completed for its historical and gene- 
alogical importance. The volumes are 
now available. States include: South 
Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Hamp- 
shire, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, 
Connecticut, New York, and Massa- 


154 W. Cleveland Pk. Dr. 

Spartanburg, S. C., 29303 


1084 Union Street 
Spartanburg, S. C., 29302 
December, 1967. 

This Volume Was Reproduced 
From An Original 

In The 

North Carolina Collection 
University of North Carolina 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 

Library of Congress Catalogue Number: 68-18503 






British Army Under Lord Cornwallis in 1780-'81, 




Happy are that people who have a noble history and read it." 



Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1889, by DAVID SCHENCK, 
in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 






The author, who has been, since 1882, a citizen 
of Greensboro, North Carolina, has frequently 
visited the spot, where, on Thursday, the I5th day 
of March, 1781, the battle of Guilford Court-House 
was fought. It is located five miles north of the 
city, on the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Rail- 

A visit to the battle-field, in the Autumn of 
1886, suggested the idea of the formation of " The 
Guilford Battle Ground Company," which was 
incorporated by the Legislature of North Carolina, 
March the yth, 1887. 

The author was elected President of that Com- 
pany, and in the examination of the different 
histories of the battle of Guilford Court-House, by 
Lee, Johnson and some other writers of less reputa- 
tion, he became convinced that great injustice had 
been done to the militia of North Carolina, in regard 
to their conduct on that occasion. Further research 
confirmed this opinion and led to the conviction that 
the inj ustice done to North Carolina was not con- 
fined to the events occurring in this battle, but that 


the State had been robbed of the honor due her for 
repelling the British invasion in lySo-'Si ; that the 
credit of her noble deeds had been ascribed to others ; 
that the citizenship of her heroes had been claimed 
by other States, and that the truth, in regard to these 
stirring events, had, either intentionally or by gross 
negligence, been greatly and wrongfully perverted 
to the injury of her good name. 

The author, therefore, as a dutiful son of North 
Carolina, determined to write this book in defence 
of his native State, and in vindication of the honor 
and patriotism of her people. His work is now 
submitted to the judgment of public opinion. 

In the preparation of this History, the author 
desires to acknowledge his obligation for assistance 
to the Honorable William L. Saunders, Secretary 
of State for North Carolina; to David Hutcheson, 
Esq., Assistant Librarian of Congress, and J. C. 
Birdsong, Esq., State Librarian of North Carolina. 
He is particularly indebted to Colonel Saunders for 
the very valuable correspondence of Brigadier 
General Jethro Sumner, which has hitherto been 

unpublished and inaccessible to the public. 
GREENSBORO, N. C., September 2oth, 1889. 



Invasion of Georgia, South and North Carolina, lySo-'Si Its Cruel 
and Desperate Character Organization of North Carolina Reg- 
ulars and Minute Men, I775~'76 Their Movements Death of 
Gen. James Moore Death of Gen. Francis Nash Reorgani- 
zation of the Six Regular Regiments The North Carolina 
Mihtia in South Carolina, 1779 Mr. Piuckney's Complimentary 
Letter in regard to North Carolina Troops Page 17. 


Condition of the States of Georgia, South and North Carolina in 
I779~'8o Siege of Charleston All the North Carolina Regu- 
lars of the Continental Line captured Patriotism and Public 
Spirit unabated Massacre of Buford's Command by Tarleton 
Battle of Ramsour's Mill, the 2oth June, 1780 Col. William R. 
Davie Affair at Hanging Rock Campaign of McDowell and 
Shelby, August, 1780 The Deckhard Rifle Generals Ruther- 
ford, Gregory and Butler Battle near Camden Gates' Defeat 
Splendid Courage of Colonel Dixon's North Carolinians in the 
Battle Flight of Gates to Charlotte Page 37. 


The Scattered Troops and Militia assemble at Charlotte Colonel W. 
L. Davidson General Sumner in Command of the Militia 
Letter from Governor Nash Patriotism of the People Corn- 
wallis leaves, September 7th, 1780, for North Carolina De- 
fence of Charlotte by Davie and Graham Hostile Spirit of the 
People Colonel Patrick Ferguson Movements of the Whig 
Leaders Battle of King's Mountain Page 99. 



Cornwallis Retreats from Charlotte to Wiunsboro General Morgan 
joins Gates at Hillsboro Gates moves from Hillsboro to Char- 
lotte General Nathanael Greene supersedes Gates December 
4th, 1780, at Charlotte Personal Sketches of Greene and Corn- 
wallis Greene Moves to " Camp Repose " on the Pee Dee 
Morgan sent to the Western Part of the State December i6th 
Sketch of General Morgan Lee's Legion joins Greene Char- 
acter of Lee The North Carolina Riflemen join Morgan 310 
Strong The Fight at Hammonds' Store Maneuvering of 
Tarleton and Morgan Their respective Strength Tarleton's 
Character Battle of Cowpens January the 1 7th, 1781 .-Page 178. 


Morgan's Retreat from Cowpens to the Catawba River Sends his 
Prisoners by Island Ford to Virginia He Crosses the Catawba 
with his Main Army at Sherrill's Ford January 23d, 1781 
Cornwallis reaches Ramsonr's Mill the 25th Destroys all his 
Heavy Baggage Greene meets Morgan the 3oth at the Ca- 
tawba ; Orders the Army from "Camp Repose" to Join 
Morgan on the Yadkin Battle at Cowan's Ford February 
ist Death of General William Lee Davidson Frederick 
Hager, the Tory, Fires the Fatal Shot Morgan Crosses the 
Yadkin at Trading Ford The two Armies Unite Finally at 
Guilford Court-House February loth General Morgan Disa- 
bled by Rheumatism Greene's Great Confidence in Him 
Retreat of Greene into Virginia Crosses the Dan, February 
I4th - . -. Page 226. 


Greene on the Dan Cornwallis at Hillsboro General Andrew 
Pickens, of South Carolina, selected by a Brigade of North 
Carolina Militia at Shallow Ford, to lead Them Movements of 
General Richard Caswell with the Militia in the East "Coun- 
cil Extraordinary," its Acts General John Butler's Move- 

ments Major Craig, of the British Army, enters Wilmington 
Jan uary the 2gth ,1781 Letter of Govern or Abn er Nash Green e 
Recrosses the Dan February 23d, 1781 Graham's Dash at Hart's 
Mill Pyle's Defeat, 25th February, 1781 Affair at Whitsill's 
Mill, March 6th Lieutenant Colonel Webster's Marvelous 
Escape from Death Reinfcrcements Reach General Greene 
at High Rock Ford, on Haw River, Sunday, March the nth, 
1781 Page 260. 


North Carolinians with Greene at the Battle of "Guilford Court- 
House" Virginians with Him The Troops constituting His 
Regular Army The Number and Character of the Troops 
under Cornwallis Description of the Battle-Ground Descrip- 
tion of the Battle Defence of the North Carolina Militia 
Incidents and Anecdotes of the Battle Results of the Battle 
in its Effect on the Military History of the Country Mr. Ben- 
ton's Review of the Importance of this Battle The Precursor 
of Yorktown The Lesser the Father of the Greater Event. 

Page 293. 


The Retreat of Cornwallis from Guilford Court-House Pursued by 
General Greene Disbandment of the Militia Colonel James 
Read's Command from North Carolina Remains with Greene 
The Militia who Fled from Guilford Court-House Reorganized 
as Part 6f the Continental Line under Major Pinketham 
Eaton Battle of Hobkirk's Hill Fall of the British Out- 
postsSplendid Courage and Dash of the North Carolinians 
at Augusta, June 5th, 1781 Death of Major Eaton Greene 
Retires to the High Hills of Santee, i6th July, 1781 --Page 388. 


General Jethro Sunnier Raises a Brigade of Continental Troops in 
1781 His Correspondence in Regard Thereto Marches, in 
July, 1781, to Join General Greene Colonel John B. Ashe, 
Major John Armstrong and Major Reading Blount, his Lieu- 
tenants Brigade Numbers 800 Men North Carolina Militia 
Join Greene General Sumter, of South Carolina, Recruits his 
Brigade in Rowan and Mecklenburg Counties Page 426. 



Battle of Eutaw Springs, Fought the 8th day of September, 1781 
The Noble Part borne by North Carolinians in this Battle 
Greene Retires to the High Hills of the Santee Hears of the 
Fall of Yorktown The War Virtually Ends Page 444. 


Sketches of Charles and Joseph McDowell Joseph Graham Major 
"Hal." Dixon General Rutherford General Butler Briga- 
dier General Jethro Sumner The End Page 463. 


David Schenck Frontispiece 

Major Joseph Graham opposite page 112 

Major Joseph McDowell opposite page 176 

Battle-field of Guilford Court-House 386 


North and South Carolina 16 

Battle of Camden 88 

Battle of King's Mountain.- 164 

Battle of Cowpeus 210 

Battle of Guilford Court-House 320 

Battle of Hobkirk's Hill 402 

Battle of Eutaw Springs -- 446 



Invasion of Georgia, South and North Carolina, lySo-'Si Its Cruel 
and Desperate Character Organization of North Carolina Reg- 
ulars and Minute Men, i775-'76 -Their Movements Death of 
Gen. James Moore Death of Gen. Francis -Nash Reorgani- 
zation of the Six Regular Regiments The North Carolina 
Militia in South Carolina, 1779 Mr. Pinkney's Complimentary 
Letter in regard to North Carolina Troops. 

* I ^HE student of history who reads carefully the 
-- incidents connected with the invasion of the 
three Southern States, Georgia, South Carolina and 
North Carolina, in lySo-'Si, will be impressed with 
the desperation of this last attempt of the British 
Government to subdue the American colonies. 

No respect for morality or humanity was allowed 
to thwart the purposes of conquest ; no rights of 
property were to be recognized among rebels ; no 
appeals for mercy from the helpless were to be 
heeded, if destruction could injure the American 
cause ; executions, cruel and remorseless, were to 
be inflicted on prisoners who dared to love or fight 
for liberty ; the savage Indian was to be incited by 
English emissaries to lay waste the frontiers and 
murder its citizens ; the brutal slave was offered 
freedom and licentious indulgence as a reward for 
treachery to his master and service in the English 
camp ; the rules of civilized warfare were to be 


disregarded ; solemn pledges to the citizens were 
broken, paroles .of prisoners ignored, and every 
oppression that devilish ingenuity could suggest 
was to be exercised in order to crush the spirit of 
the patriots and suppress the so-called rebellion. 
The marauding bands of the invaders committed 
acts of vindictiveness that would have made the 
Duke of Alba blush with shame. 

Lord Corn \vallis, who affected " amiability " and 
was bred a soldier, shut his eyes to these atrocities 
and, by proclamations in violation of his faith, 
breathed out terror and threats and dismay in 
advance of his coming ; there was to be neither 
safety for life nor property nor virtue, unless the 
citizen was an active loyalist, or became an apostate 
to his principles. The butcheries of Tarleton were 
lauded as victories, and he was addressed in affec- 
tionate terms by his commander and congratulated 
for his conduct. Cornwallis never assumed to do 
justice until retaliation convinced him that such 
deeds as he encouraged could not be practiced with 
impunity, and that an unrelenting vengeance would 
dog his advance. It was necessity and apprehen- 
sion, not justice or mercy, that compelled him to 
respect human beings whom the fate of war placed 
in his power. 

This bloody and cruel invasion aroused the indig- 
nation and stirred the eloquent spirit of the younger 
Pitt, and, in excited language and with vehement 
manner, he cried out in the British Commons : 

"The noble Lord has called the American war a holy 
war; I affirm that it is a most accursed war; wicked, 
barbarous, cruel and unnatural; conceived in injustice, 
it was brought forth and nurtured in folly; its footsteps 
are marked with slaughter and devastation, while 
it meditates destruction to the miserable people who 
are the devoted objects of the resentments which pro- 
duced it." 

The American army, under Major-General Lincoln, 
which had been besieged at Charleston, surrendered 
to Sir Henry Clinton on the 1 2th, day of April, 1780. 
By the terms of the capitulation the Continental 
troops and sailors became prisoners of war until 
exchanged ; the rnilitia from the country were to 
return home on parole and to be secure in their 
property so long as their parole should be observed. 
But these terms were set at naught. The Conti- 
nental troops were confined in the filthy, crowded 
prison ships, or forced to reside in the most malari- 
ous spots, on the coast, so that in a few months they 
were reduced by deaths one-third of their number, 
and many of those who survived returned, at last, 
to their homes with their physical constitutions 
broken down by disease and their health forever 

1780. By the proclamation of Lord Cornwallis, 
issued in June,the prisoners on parole were required 
to take active part in securing the royal govern- 
ment. "Should they neglect to return to their 
allegiance," so the proclamation read, " they were 
to be treated as rebels to the government." 


We shall see in the sequel with what sanguinary 
results this proclamation was enforced ; but the 
blood of the patriots, to use a paraphrase, was the 
seed of the American cause, and the u burnt houses 
of its citizens made patriots of them all." 

The military strength of North Carolina was 
greatly reduced by the surrender of General Lin- 
coln's army at Charleston, and but for the unflinch- 
ing patriotism and devotion to independence which 
pervaded her people, she too, would soon have 
become a prostrate State. It will be with a feeling 
of pride that we shall endeavor to trace the history 
of her military forces during this eventful period, 
from the siege of Charleston, its darkest day, to the 
victory at Eutaw Springs, where her troops consti- 
tuted so large a portion of the army of General 
Greene and won for themselves imperishable laurels 
of victor}*. 

The Legislature of North Carolina, which met at 
Hillsboro the 2ist day of August, 1775, in the 
dawn of the revolution, passed an act to raise two 
regiments of Continental troops which had been 
asked for by Congress. 

The following were the officers of these regiments: 


*J ames Moore, Colonel. 
^Francis Nash, Lieutenant Colonel. 
Thomas Clark, Major. 
\Yilliam Williams, Adjutant. 

^Afterwards Brigadier General. 


William Daves, George Daudson, 

William Packett, Alfred Moore, 

*Henry Dickson, John Walker, 

Thomas Allen, William Greene, 

Robert Rowan, Caleb Grainger. 


John LilKngton, William Berryhill, 

Hesekiah Rice, Lawrence Thompson, 

Joshua Bowman, Abraham Tatnm, 

Hector McNeil, William Hill, 

William Brandon, Thomas Hogg. 


f Robert Howe, Colonel. 
Alexander Martin, Lieutenant Colonel. 
John Patton, Major. 
Dr. John White, Captain and Adjutant. 


James Blount, Nathan Keais, 

JJohn. Armstrong, Simon Bright, 

Charles Crawford, Michael Payne, 

Hardy Murfree, John Walker. 
Henry Irwin Toole, 

*Known as " Hal " Dickson, afterwards Colonel. General Joseph 
Graham's Sketches. 

fAfterwards Major-General. 

{Afterwards Major and commanding battalion at Eutavf Springs. 


John Grainger, Joseph Tate, 

Robert Smith, William Fenner, 

John Herritage, J^hn \\ r illiams, 

Clement Hall, James Gee, 

Edward Vail, Jr., Benjamin Williams. 

The Legislature met again the 4th day of April, 
1776, at Halifax, when four additional regiments 
were raised, James Moore and Robert Howe having 
been made Brigadier Generals. The field officers 
were as follows : 

ist Regiment Colonel, Francis Nash ; Lieuten- 
ant Colonel, Thos. Clarke ; Major, Win. Davis. 

2d Regiment Colonel, Alex. Martin ; Lieuten- 
ant Colonel, John Pattoii ; Major, John W'hite. 

3_d Regiment Colonel, Jethro Sunnier; Lieu- 
tenant Colonel, William Alston ; Major, Samuel 
Lock hart. 

4th Regiment Colonel, Thomas Polk ; Lieuten- 
ant Colonel, James Thackston ; Major, William 
Davidson. : ' : 

5th Regiment Colonel, Edward Buncombe ; 
Lieutenant Colonel, Henry Irwin ; Major, Levi 

6th Regiment Colonel, Alexander Lillington ; 
Lieutenant Colonel, William Taylor; Major, 
Gideon Lamb. 

These regiments were known as Regulars. They 

*Afterwards Brigadier General and killed at Cowan's Ford. 

: (23) 

were enlisted under an act of Congress for the war 
and were under the control of the general govern- 
ment. The Legislature also raised six battalions 
known as " Minute Men." 

I attach a list of the officers of these troops for 
reference, as many of them rose to distinction during 
the revolution. 

Officers of the battalions, ordered to be raised, 
appointed by the House : 

EDEXTON DISTRICT. Peter Simon and John 
Pugh Williams, Captains ; Andrew Duke and Thos. 
Whitmel Pugh, ist Lieutenants ; Neheniiah Long 
and Joseph Clayton, ad Lieutenants ; Benjamin 
Baily and Elisha Rhodes, Ensigns ; Jerome Mc- 
Laine, Thomas Grandbury and Kedar Ballard, 
Captains ; Jacob Pollock and John Grandbury, ist 
Lieutenants ; Whitmel Blount and Zephaniah Bur- 
gess, ad Lieutenants ; Wm. Knott, Ensign ; Roger 
Moore, Captain ; William Goodman, ist Lieuten- 
ant ; Benij ah Turner, ad Lieutenant; Abel Moss- 
lander, Ensign. 

HALIFAX DISTRICT. W 7 illiam Brinkley and 
Pinketham Eaton* t Captains ; Isaac Prevat and 
Jas. Bradley, ist Lieutenants ; Christopher Luckey 
and Robert Washington, ad Lieutenants ; William 
Etheridge and Joseph Montford, Ensigns ; John 
Gray and Jacob Turner, Captains ; Joseph Clinch 
?nd Daniel Jones, ist Lieutenants ; Matthew Wood 
and Aisop High, ad Lieutenants ; William Linton 
and Benjamin Morgan, Ensigns. 

*Afterwards Major and killed at Augusta, June, 1781. 

HILLSBORO DISTRICT. Philip Taylor and Archi- 
bald Lytle,* Captains ; John Kenon and Thomas 
Donoho, ist Lieutenants; Dempsey Moore and 
William Thompson, 2d Lieutenants ; Solomon 
Walker and William Lyttle, Ensigns ; Jas. Emmet, 
Captain ; William Clements, ist Lieutenant. 

John James, Captains ; Charles Hollingsworth and 
Daniel Williams, ist Lieutenants; Mark McLainy 
and John McCan, 2d Lieutenants ; David Jones 
and Edward Outlaw, Ensigns; Griffith John McKee, 
Captain; Francis Child, ist Lieutenant. 

NEWBERN DISTRICT. Simon Alderson and John 
Enloe, Captains ; William Groves and Geo. Suggs, 
ist Lieutenants ; John Custin and Henry Camion, 
ad Lieutenants ; James McKenny and Shadrack 
Wooten, Ensigns ; William Cassel and Reading 
Blount^ Captains ; Henry Darnell and Benjamin 
Coleman, ist Lieutenants; John Sitgreaves and 
John Allen, 2d Lieutenants; John Bush and Thomas 
Blount, Ensigns; Benjamin Stedman, Captain; 
Robert Turner, ist Lieutenant ; John Eborn, 2d 
Lieutenant ; Charles Stewart, Ensign. 

SALISBURY DISTRICT Robert Smith and Wil- 
liam Temple Cole, Captains ; William Brownfield 
and James Carr, ist Lieutenants; William Cald- 
well and David Craig, 2d Lieutenants ; Thomas 
McLure and Joseph Patton, Ensigns ; Thomas 
Haines and Jesse Saunders, Captains ; Thomas 
Pickett and William Clover, ist Lieutenants ; John 

*Afterwards Colonel in the Continental line. 
("Commanded battalion of Regulars at Eutaw Springs. 

Madaris and Pleasant Henderson, 2d Lieutenants ; 
John Morpis and Thomas Grant, Ensigns ; Wil- 
liam Ward, Captain ; Christopher Gooding, ad Lieu- 
tenant ; John Whitley, ist Lieutenant; Richard 
Singletary, Ensign ; Willis Pope, 2d Lieutenant ; 
John Hopson, Ensign ; George Mitchell and Austin 
Council, Captains ; Amos Love and Thomas White, 
ist Lieutenants ; Benjamin Pike and Thomas Arm- 
strong, 2d Lieutenants ; Reuben Grant and Denny 
Poterfeild, Ensigns ; James Farr, 2d Lieutenant ; 
James Coots, Ensign ; Joseph Phillips and John 
Nelson, Captains ;. James S'hepperd and William 
Dent, Jr., ist Lieutenants; Micajah Lewis and 
James Starrat, 2d Lieutenants ; W 7 illiam Meredith 
and Alex. Nelson, Ensigns ; John Baptiste Ashe* 
Captain ; George Dougherty, ist Lieutenant ; An- 
drew Armstrong, 2d Lieutenant ; Joshua Hadley, 
Ensign ; James Cook, Captain ; Adam Hampton, 
ist Lieutenant ; John Walker, 2d Lieutenant : 
Adam McFadden, Ensign. 


ist Company John Dickerson, Captain ; Samuel 
Ashe, Jr., Lieutenant; Abraham Childers, Cornet. 

2ff Company Martin Pfifer, Captain; James 
Sunnier, Lieutenant ; Valentine Beard, Cornet. 

$d Company James Jones, Captain ; Cosimo 
Madacy, Lieutenant ; James Armstrong, Cornet. 

The first two regiments of Regulars seem to have 

"^Commanded battalion of Regulars at Eutaw Springs. 


been hurried off to South Carolina to repel the first 
attack on Charleston in 1776, for in the Life of 
Iredell, vol. i, p. 325, we read that the "two bat- 
talions of Continental troops from North Carolina, 
under Cols. James Moore and Alexander Martin, 
are spoken of as numbering fifteen hundred men." 
The gallantry of the officers and men is sufficiently 
attested by Gen. Charles Lee, in a letter to Edmund 
Pendleton, to whom he writes on the 29th June, 
1776, in these words : 

"I know not which corps I have the greatest reason 
to be pleased with, Mughlenbergh's Virginians or the 
North Carolina troops. They are both equally alert, 
zealous and spirited."* 

Col. James Moore had been promoted, while at 
Charleston, to the rank of Brigadier General, on 
account of his gallant and meritorious conduct, but 
while in that vicinity he contracted some malarial 
disease which so prostrated him that he returned 
to the mansion of his brother, Judge Maurice Moore, 
near Wilmington, to recruit his health. He found 
his brother also declining rapidly, and in a few 
days both of these distinguished men were in the 
pale hands of death, in the same house, and were 
buried at the same time. 

General Moore had given brighter promise of 
future greatness than any of his cotemporaries in 
the military service, and his death was grievously 
and universally lamented. 

*Life of Iredell, vol. i, Appendix. 

Col. Francis Nash, of Hillsboro, was promoted 
to the vacancy caused by General Moore's death, 
and succeeded immediately to the command of the 

It further appears that in July and August, 1776, 
the whole six regiments of North Carolina Regu- 
lars were concen crated at Wilmington, North Car- 
olina, where they were drilled twice a day and 
subjected to rigid military discipline until Novem- 
ber, when they received orders to march North. 
They numbered about 4,000 men at that time. On 
reaching Halifax, North Carolina, they were coun- 
termarched to Charleston, South Carolina, to meet 
the British, who were near St. Augustine, and 
threatening Georgia. Here they remained until 
March, 1777.* 

On the 1 5th day of that month, these six regi- 
ments were ordered to join General Washington, 
whose losses in the retreat from New York City, 
across the State of New Jersey, had reduced his 
army to 7,000 effective men. The North Caro- 
linians reached his camp, at Middlebrook, New 
Jersey, in June. Such substantial increase of the 
army enabled Washington to assume the aggressive 
once more, and on the nth day of September, 
these troops participated in the battle of Brandy- 
wine ; October the 4th, they were engaged at Ger- 
inaiitown ; at Monmouth June 2Oth, 1778, and at 
Stony Point July i6th, 1779. They were also with 

*University Magazine, May, 1855, p. 158. 


their commander in the winter of - 1777 '78 at Valley 

Brigadier-General Francis Nash, their gallant 
and patriotic leader, was killed at Germantown. 
Wheeler, in his Reminiscences, says, " his thigh 
was shattered by a spent cannon-ball, and the same 
shot killed his aid, Major Witherspoon, son of 
Rev. Dr. Witherspoon, President of Princeton 
College. He was buried at Kulpsville, Mont- 
gomery county, Pennsylvania, twenty-six miles 
from Philadelphia. John F. Watson, Esq., a pat- 
riotic citizen, has placed a handsome monument 
over his grave.* 

I find, however, in Moore's History, vol. i, p. 
243, the following account of his death : 

"I am assured by my excellent and most sensible 
friend, Dr. Richard B. Haywood, that he had it from 
the lips of Col. William Polk, that he (Polk) was also 
injured in the same battle, and was with General Nash 
when he died ; they were both shot down by a volley 
which came from their left and raked their line with 
terrible effect. This deadly round was the work of the 
Queen's Yagers. General Nash was shot through the 
face in such a manner that he lost both his eyes, while 
Colonel Polk was wounded in the tongue and was unable 
to speak. He used to repeat a remark of General Nash, 
that both were thus unfitted for future service and would 
be useful to each other in the trip home. General Nash 

NOTK. This account of Wheeler is very nearly the same as that of 
Hugh McDonald in University Magazine, vol. 5, 208. McDonald 
was an illiterate man, a private soldier. 

*Wheeler's Reminiscences, p. 332. 


died a few days after the battle, but Polk recovered to- 
enjoy future military laurels and the multiplied honors 
of a long and useful life." 

Governor Graham, in his lecture on General 
Greene, says : " Through the remainder of this year 
(1777) other troops followed from the State and the 
nine regiments called for by Congress appear to 
have all gone forward to this department of the 
'army" under Washington. 

McDonald speaks of Hoguii's and Ingram's regi- 
ments, which he calls the 8th and 9th, reaching 
camp, and says Colonel Armstrong joined them a 
few days before the battle of Germaiitown, fought in 
June, 1777. The roster, ::: however, puts Hogun as 
Colonel of the 7th and Armstrong of the 8th. 
Ingram was only Lieutenant Colonel of the 8th. 

The roster puts John P. Williams as Colonel of 
the 9th, with William Polk as Major. 

As the sources of information in regard to the 
history of our regular troops, while under Wash- 
ington, are so extremely meagre, I draw from the 
McDonald record, as suggestive merely, for I do 
not give credence to all the stories he relates, and 
especially do I discredit the very base statement 
made by him in regard to Colonel Alexander Mar- 
tin. It is to be regretted that General Wheeler, in 
his Reminiscences, should quote it without naming 
the author. The gentleman who furnishes the 
McDonald journal to the University Magazine has 

*See Appendix A. 


taken the precaution to state that McDonald was 
ignorant and uneducated and u had to employ 
another hand some years afterwards to write down 
what he related." It seems to have been an effort 
to relate from memory the events of the war, with- 
out having any written data before him, and while 
it may be correct in the main, its details are hardly 
to be relied upon.* 

It is from this journal we learn of the reorgani- 
zation of the North Carolina Regulars, and his 
account seems to be confirmed by subsequent and 
cotemporaneous events transpiring in regard to 
those regiments. He informs us that 

"On the ist of May, 1778, our brigade from North 
Carolina was inspected and the seven regiments which 
iiad been two years in service were discovered to be too 
small for their officers. The 7th Regiment, commanded 
by Colonel Armstrong, having joined us a few days before 

*The statementof McDonald, published in the University Magazine, 
October, 1856, was, that Colonel Alexander Martin was cashiered for 
cowardice at the battle of Germantown, and sent home to Hillsboro 
with a wooden sword. 

This is not true. In a letter from Thos. Burke to Cornelius Harnett, 
dated Philadelphia, November 2oth, 1777, he says : 

"Colonel Martin has been tried by a court-martial or court of 
inquiry, I don't know which, on his behavior at Germantown, and 

On the 8th November, he writes again : 

" Colonel Martin has been tried and acquitted and has since 
resigned." (See University Magazine, February, 1861.) 

The many honorable positions, including that of Governor and 
Senator, subsequently conferred by the State on Colonel Alexander 
Martin, shows the confidence and esteem in which he continued to 
be held by his fellow-citizens in North Carolina. 

the battle of Germanto\vn, in which it lost some of its 
men, all except the two last that joined us* were reduced 
to three regiments and the surplus officers were discharged 
and sent home to North Carolina." 

The 6th regiment (formerly Islington's) was put 
into the ist (formerly Moore's), under the command 
of Colonel Thomas- Clark, of New Hanover County. 

The 4th (formerly Thomas Folk's) was put into 
the 2d (formerly Robert Howe's), under the com- 
mand of Colonel John Patton. 

The 5th regiment (formerly Edward Buncombe's, 
who was killed at Germantown) was put into the 
3d (formerly Jethro Sumner's) , under Colonel Jethrp 

The oldest captain of each regiment that was 
broken up, was retained in the regiments to which 
they were attached, with the privilege of selecting 
the men who should compose their companies from 
the regiment to which they first belonged.f 

Colonel James Hogun was promoted to be the 
Brigadier General of this brigade. 

Governor Graham states that 

"In a letter from Governor Burke, then a delegate in 
Congress, to Governor Caswell, in January, 1779, he 
(Burke) justifies his support of Hogun for the appoint- 
ment of Brigadier General over Colonel Thomas Clark, 
whom the Legislature recommended, upon the ground of 

*He seems to allude to Hogun's and Ingram's regiments that he 
speaks of as the 8th and gih. 

fUniversity Magazine, vol. 5, p. 362. 


priority of commission and also that Colonel Hogun had r 
at Germantown, behaved with distinguished intrepidity 
and that Colonel Clark had been restrained by superior 
command which denied him the opportunity to obtain 
the like distinction." 

In the autumn of 1779, the movements of Sir 
Henry Clinton, who had succeeded Sir William 
Howe in the command of the British Army, indi- 
cated his intention to transfer the seat of war to the 
South, and General Washington determined to 
detach the Southern troops under his command to 
that section of the country for its defence. 

The North Carolina Regulars were then under 
the command of Brigadier General James Hogun, 
who had been promoted. January 9, 1779.* In 
November, 1779, these troops began their tedious 
march for Charleston, South Carolina, encountering 
great severity in the weather on their way. When 
they passed through Philadelphia, as we learn from 
Governor Graham's lecture, they numbered about 
700 men. Recruits had been gathered at Halifax, 
North Carolina, to reinforce them, but they were 
never sent forward. 

General Hogun reached Charleston the i ^ tli aay 
of March, 1780. 

Leaving the North Carolina Regulars at Charles- 
ton, it will be necessary to see what the other forces 
from this State had been doing for the protection 
and safety of South Carolina. 

'"University Magazine, March, 1878, p. 9, by Gov. Graham. 


Major General Lincoln succeeded Major General 
Howe, of North Carolina, in the command of the 
Southern forces in December, 1778. General 
Howe had incurred the displeasure of the Gov- 
ernors of Georgia and South Carolina, whom he 
had reproached for failing to give him a proper 
support, and Mr. Christopher Gadsden, of South 
Carolina, had been impulsive enough to use oppro- 
brious language about General Howe. This pro- 
voked a challenge, and on the i3th day of August, 
1778, near Charleston, a duel was fought, in 
which General Howe's bullet grazed Mr. Gadsden's 
ear. Explanations and a reconciliation followed. 
Mr. Gadsden fired his pistol in the air. 

Early in 1779 the British General Prevost 
marched to Savannah, and Colonel Campbell took 
possession of Augusta. 

An earnest appeal was made to Governor Caswell, 
of North Carolina, for assistance, and he was offered a 
major general's commission in the Continental line 
and a position as second in command to General 
Lincoln. Governor Lowndes, of South Carolina, 
seconded this appeal in frequent letters, but Governor 
Caswell, after deliberation, thought proper to decline 
the honor. He, however, called out three thousand 
militia and conferred the command on Major Gen- 
eral John Ashe, of New Hanover. The troops were 
from Wilmington, Newbern, Edenton and Halifax 
districts. The Statejiad no arms, -and sent the militia 
forward to South Carolina on the promise of that State 
to equip them; but so scarce were arms that only the 



most inferior patterns could be furnished. The 
danger was imminent, and the militia were hurried 
forward without discipline or training, against the 
remonstrances of General Ashe, and a large body 
of them were surprised and defeated at Briar Creek, 
in Georgia, March 3d, 1779, and, as their "tour" 
of three months was nearly at an end, most of them 
returned home. 

General Ashe demanded an investigation, and, 
though the court-martial " acquitted him of any 
imputation on his personal honor or courage, he 
received censure for want of sufficient vigilance," 
which saddened the evening of this good man's life. 
His patriotic and brave spirit, which had in 11 
times of trial and danger defied the enemies of his 
country, could not endure the unmerited censure of 
his friends ; the wound rankled in his heart, and he 
retired from military service to seek the solace of 
his home. He was, however, compelled to live in 
seclusion, as the British were then in possession of 
Wilmington. Shortly after his return his place of 
retreat was divulged by his body servant, a negro, 
and a force of the enemy were detailed for his cap- 
ture. In the attempt to escape General Ashe was 
wounded in the leg and taken prisoner. He was then 
thrust into prison where he contracted small-pox 
and on this account was paroled. But in October, 
1781, he sank under his accumulated sufferings, and 
died at the hous"e of a friend in Sampson County. 
No braver, better or purer man ever served his 


State, and his sad fate only endeared his memory 
the more to those who knew and loved him. 

1779. "A second contingent of militia, underGeneral 
Rutherford, of the Salisbury District, and General John 
Butler, of the Guilford District, accompanied by the 
recent levies of North Carolina troops of Lytle's and 
Armstrong's regiments, entered South Carolina in the 
early spring, and participated in the battle of Stono in 
June, and the militia returned after their tour of five 
mouths expired."* 

On the 24th day of February, 1779, Charles 
Pinckney writes to his aunt, Mrs. Pinckney : 

"As to further aid from North Carolina, they have 
agreed to send us 2,000 more troops immediately. We 
now have upwards of 3,000 of their men with us, and I 
esteem this last augmentation as the highest possible 
mark of their affection for us and as the most convincing 
proof of their zeal for the glorious cause in which they 
are engaged. They have been so willing and ready on 
all occasions to afford us all the assistance in their power 
that I shall ever love a North Carolinian, and join with 
General Moultrie in confessing that they have been the 
salvation of this country ."f 

As late as the 6th of April, 1780, Colonel Har- 
rington, of North Carolina, with Colonel Wood- 
ford's Virginia troops, entered the city of Charleston. 

*Documentary History of the American Revolution, p. 106. 
fGovernor Graham's Lecture, University Magazine, April, 1878. 


It is almost impossible, among the shifting scenes 
of that day, when the militia were going and 
coming every few months, to locate the commanders 
and their troops, and trace their services in the 
camp ; we can only catch glimpses of these gallant 
men now and then through the shadowy lights of 
history, and leave conjecture to fill the spaces in 
their career. 


Condition of the States of Georgia, South and North Carolina in 
zyyq-'So Siege of Charleston All the North Carolina Regu- 
lars of the Continental Line captured Patriotism and Public 
Spirit unabated Massacre of Buford's Command by Tarleton 
Battle of Ramsour's Mill, the 2oth June, 1780 Col. William R. 
Davie Affair at Hanging Rock Campaign of McDowell and 
Shelby, August, 1780 The Deckhard Rifle Generals Ruther- 
ford, Gregory and Butler Battle near Camden Gates' Defeat 
Splendid Courage of Colonel Dixon's North Carolinians in the 
Battle Flight of Gates to Charlotte. 

^ T ^HB lamentable condition of the States of Georgia 
-*- and South Carolina in the winter of i779~'8o 
is thus graphically described by Bancroft : 

u Before the end of three months after the capture of 
Savannah, all the property, real and personal, of the 
rebels in Georgia was disposed of. For further gains, 
Indians were encouraged to bring in slaves wherever 
they could find them. All families in South Carolina 
were subjected to the visits of successive sets of banditti, 
who received commissions, as volunteers, with no pay 
or emolument but that derived from rapine, and who, 
roaming about at pleasure, robbed the plantations alike 
of patriots and loyalists. 

"The property of the greatest part of the inhabitants of 
South Carolina was confiscated, families were divided, 
patriots outlawed and savagely assassinated, houses 
burned, and women and children driven shelterless into 
the forest; districts so desolated that they seemed the 
abode only of orphans and widows." 


Major General Lincoln, with less than two thou- 
sand effective men, occupied the city of Charleston, 
and determined to defend it to the last. He took 
no counsel from his officers, and learned no wisdom 
from past experience. The only army of the Con- 
tinental Government in the South was to be anni- 
hilated at one fell blow, when it should have 
retreated, and, by maneuvering in front of the supe- 
rior enemy, at least have maintained a show of 
resistance and afforded a nucleus around which the 
numerous partisan bands of Whigs might have 
rallied, and, when opportunity offered, strike a blow 
for freedom. 

Sir Henry Clinton, who was then in command of 
the royal army, resolved to renew the attack 011 
Charleston, and, to prevent a repetition of the dis- 
aster of 1776, he determined to command the expe- 
dition in person. On the 2 6th day of December, 
1779, he sailed with a numerous fleet from New 
York, on which was embarked eight thousand five 
hundred soldiers. They encountered severe storms 
on the way, nearly all the horses perished, vessels 
laden with ordnance went down, others were sepa- 
rated entirely from the fleet, and many of the trans- 
ports were captured by American privateers. It 
was nearly the end of January, 1780, before most 
of the ships reached Tybee, the place of rendezvous 
in Georgia. The expedition was so crippled that 
Clinton immediately ordered Lord Rawdoii's bri- 
gade of three thousand men, then in New York, to 
join him. 


Charleston was at that time a city of fifteen thou- 
sand inhabitants all told, but was wealthy, and 
among its leaders were representatives of large 
British interests. The country around the city was 
flat and three sides of the city lay upon the water. 
An enemy who commanded the sea could easily 
invest it by throwing up its works across the narrow 
entrance of land which lay between the Ashley and 
Cooper rivers. There were no forts nor ramparts 
for its defence, and General Lincoln could rely only 
on the temporary field works which he was able to 

This was the situation, when on the 2 6th day of 
February, 1780, the British forces first came in 
sight of the city. On the 2yth, the officers of the 
Continental squadron reported to General Lincoln 
that they were unable to prevent the entrance of 
the British fleet. " It was then that the attempt to 
defend the city should have been abandoned," said 
Washington. Clinton moved with caution to the 
attack, leaving nothing to chance, and it was not 
until the 9th day of April that " Arbuthnot, taking 
advantage of a gentle east wind, brought his ships 
into the harbor without suffering from F0rt Moultrie 
or returning the fire."* 

On the loth, the city was summoned to surrender, 
but Lincoln replied, " From duty and inclination , 
I shall support the town to the last extremity." 

There was yet time for the American army to 
escape, but Lincoln procrastinated from day to day 

^Bancroft, vol. 5, p. 377. 


until the British had completed the investment of 
the city, and nothing was left but to fight "to the 
last extremity " or to surrender on humiliating 
terms to the enemy. 

"On the i3th of April, Lincoln for the first time 
called a council of war and suggested an evacuation. 
The officers replied, 'We should not lose an houf in 
getting the Continental troops over Cooper river, for on 
their safety depends the salvation of the State." ' 

Lincoln, however, dismissed the council without 
action, and this procrastination and " slowness of 
perception and will " cost the Colonies the army 
which they had, with so many sacrifices, collected 
to oppose this formidable invasion. The usual 
steps of progress in the siege took place, the British 
continued to advance their works, and Lincoln made 
but a feeble resistance. 

There was only one sortie made by the besieged. 
This \vas on the 24th day of April, and was con- 
ducted by Lieutenant Colonel Henderson.'" He 
led out three hundred men and attacked the 
advanced working party of the British, killed 
several and captured eleven prisoners. In this 
affair Capt. Moultrie, of the South Carolina line, was 

*This attacking party numbered 300 men, and was composed of 
detachments from Hogun's North Carolinians, Woodford's Virginians, 
and Scott's brigade, and 21 South Carolina Continentals. Gibbs 
Doc. His. (f857),p. /jj. The leader was Colonel William Henderson, 
of the South Carolina Continental troops, who afterwards commanded 
Sumter's brigade at Eutaw. He was formerly from Granville County, 
N. C., brother of Major Pleasant Henderson. See Pleasant Hender- 
son's petition for pension under act of 1832. 


killed.* On the 26th of April the British flag was 
seen floating over Fort Moultrie, and the garrison 
became disheartened. A council of war was called 
and negotiations opened between Clinton and Lin- 
coln, but the terms' of surrender offered by the 
former were rejected. On the nth of May, how- 
ever, the " British had crossed the wet ditch by 
sap and advanced' within twenty-five yards of the 
lines of the besieged." Lincoln was now pressed 
011 all sides by his friends to surrender and save 
the unnecessary effusion of blood, and under the 
circumstances he assented to the terms of Clinton 
without conference or explanation. Mr. Bancroft 
says, " This was the first instance in the American 
war of an attempt to defend a town, and the unsuc- 
cessful event, with its consequences, makes it proba- 
ble that if this method had been generally adopted 
the independence of America could not have been so 
easily supported, "f 

The defence of Charleston was disapproved by 
General Washington, who urged that the army 
should keep the open country where it could be 
free to attack or retreat as circumstances dictated 
and he pointed out the danger of risking both the 
army and the city on the result of a siege where 
the Americans could be greatly outnumbered by 
concentrating the British forces on that point. 

The British commander, in order to magnify his 
victory, claimed to have captured five thousand 
prisoners, swelling the number by the civilians 

*Ramsay's South Carolina, p. 186. fBancroft, vol. 5, p, 187. 


whom he put on the list ; but the real number of 
Continental soldiers who surrendered was only 
1,977, and 500 of these were, at that time, lying in 
the hospitals prostrated by the dreadful malaria of 
the coast.* More than 1,000 of these Continental 
soldiers were the North Carolina regulars, who were 
detached from the army of Washington, and their 
recruits. They were composed of the three regiments 
"compressed" from the original six which marched 
from Wilmington, North Carolina, and the two other 
regiments who joined Washington later. General 
Hogun commanded these troops all veterans. In 
addition to the regulars, there were over i ,coo 
North Carolina militia at the fall of Charleston; so 
that, by this great blunder of General Lincoln, 
North Carolina lost her whole force of Continental 
soldiers, leaving not even one regiment in which 
the stragglers might be collected. Colonel Clarke, 
of New Hanover, and Colonel Patton, commanded 
two of these regiments of regulars. 

I regret that my most diligent inquiry has failed to 
discover any future record of General Hogun. That 
lie was a brave and skillful officer his rapid promotion 
proves, and to this, is added the positive testimony 
of Governor Burke who.eifected his promotion over 
his seniors in office. His family name exists now 
in Alabama and these persons trace their genealogy 
to North Carolina. It is more than probable, if not 
certain, that General Hogun died in captivity, as 
did hundreds of others of these brave men. 

*Ramsey's History of South Carolina, p. 188. 


The loss of these troops was a terrible blow to 
North Carolina, but it did not destroy her spirit 
nor lessen her determination to be free. She called 
on her militia to rally to her standard and put forth 
every effort to stay the progress of the invader. 
We shall see how nobly and courageously the 
people responded to the call. 

By the terms of the capitulation, the militia from 
the country were to return home as prisoners of 
war, on parole, and to be secure in their property 
so long as their parole was observed. Many of the 
officers and troops were confined in prison ships 
reeking .with filth and the germs of disease while 
others were sent to unhealthy locations on the coast 
during the sickly summer of 1780. One-third of 
their number perished from disease while others 
were so prostrated as to be unfitted for military 
duty. Following the trace of these gallant men, 
we find that on the nth day of March, 1781, in the 
midst of the most thrilling events in North Caro- 
lina, General Greene renewed negotiations with 
Lord Cornwallis for the exchange of prisoners. 

" The negotiation was first commenced whilst the 
American army lay at Halifax Old Court House (Vir- 
ginia), but was then broken off because the British 
commissioner insisted on considering paroled privates 
as prisoners of war, to favor their practice of exacting 
paroles of all the militia in the country. The negotia- 
tion was renewed and finally adjusted by Colonel Car- 
rington, on the American side, and Captain Frederick 


Cornwallis, on that of the British, at a subsequent meet- 
ing, held on the Pee Dee on the 8th May, 1781."* 

The American prisoners were shipped to James- 
town, Virginia, where they were exchanged, June 
22d, iySi,t and soon thereafter history records 
their services again in various military capacities 
in the South. 

What followed the fall of Charleston is so graph- 
ically described by Air. Bancroft, that I quote it 
entire : 

"For six weeks all opposition ceased in South Carolina. 
One expedition was sent by Clinton up the Savannah 
to encourage the loyal and reduce the disaffected in the 
neighborhood of Augusta ; another proceeded for the 
like purpose to the district of Ninety-Six, where Wil- 
liamson surrendered his post and accepted British pro- 
tection. Pickens was reduced to inactivity. Alone of the 
leaders of the patriot militia, Colonel James Williams;!; 
escaped pursuit and preserved his freedom of action. A. 
third and large party under Cornwallis moved across the 
Santee towards Camden. 

"The rear of the old Virginia line, commanded by 
Colonel Buford, arriving too late to reinforce the garrison 
of Charleston, had retreated toward the northeast of the 

" They were pursued, and on the twenty-ninth of May 
were overtaken by Tarleton with seven hundred calvary 

^Johnson's Life of Greene, vol. i, p. 470. 

fWheeler's Reminiscences, p. 399, and Wheeler's History, vol. 2, 
p. 281. 

^Formerly of Granville County, North Carolina, and afterwards 
killed at King's Mountain. 


and mounted infantry. Btiford himself, and a few who 
were mounted, and about a hundred of the infantry, saved 
themselves by flight. The rest, making no resistance, 
vainly sued fot quarter. None was granted.* 

" A hundred and thirteen were killed on the spot ; a 
hundred and fifty were too badly hacked to be moved ; 
fifty-three only could be brought into Camden as pris- 
oners. The tidings of this massacre, borne through the 
Southern forests, excited horror and anger, but Tarleton 
received from Cornwallis the highest encomiums. 

" The capture of Charleston suspended all resistance to 
the British army. 

"The men of Beaufort, of Ninety-Six, and of Camden, 
capitulated under the promise of security, believing that 
they were to be treated as neutrals, or as prisoners on 
parole. The attempt was now made to force the men of 
Carolina into active service in the British army, and so 
to become the instrument of their own subjection. 

1780. "On the 22d of - May, confiscation of property 
and other punishments were denounced against all who 
should thereafter oppose the King in arms, or hinder 
any one from joining his forces. 

" On the first of June a proclamation by the commis- 
sioners, Clinton and Arbuthnot, offered pardon to the 
penitent on their immediate return to allegiance; to the 
loyal, the promise of their former political immunities, 

*" In this bloody encounter Captain John Stokes, of Guilford 
County, North Carolina, participated with his company and was 
horribly mutilated by the brutal troopers of Tarletou. One of his 
hands was cut off and he was besides badly wounded in many places 
on his body. He was the brother of Governor Montford Stokes and 
Judge of the U. S. District Court in North Carolina." Moore's His- 
tory, vol. i, p. 264. 

including freedom from taxation, except by their own 

"On the 3d of June, Clinton, by a proclamation which 
he alone signed, cut up British authority in Carolina by 
the roots. He required all the inhabitants of the pro- 
vince, even those outside of Charleston, ' who were now 
prisoners on parole,' to take an active part in securing 
the royal government. 

u Should they neglect to return to their allegiance,' so 
ran the proclamation, ' they will be treated as rebels to 
the government of the King. ' He never reflected that 
many, who accepted protection from fear or convenience, 
did so in the expectation of living in a state of neutrality, 
and that they might say: ' If we must fight, let us fight on 
the side of our friends, of our countrymen, of America.' 

"On the eve of his departure for New York, he reported 
to Germain : ' The inhabitants from every quarter declare 
their allegiance to the King, and offer their services in 
arms. There are few men in South Carolina who are 
not either our prisoners or in the army with us.' " 

So complete was the subjugation of South Caro- 
lina, and so hopeless appeared to them the future 
of that State, that " many fainted at the hard option 
between submission and ruin." Charles Pinckiiey, 
lately President of the South Carolina Senate, 
classing himself among those who, from the hurry 
and confusion of the times, had been misled, desired 
to show every mark of allegiance. Rawlins Lowndes, 
who but a few months before had been President of 
the State of South Carolina, excused himself for 
haying reluctantly given way to necessity, and 


accepted any test to prove that, with the unre- 
strained dictates of his own mind, he now attached 
himself to the royal government. Henry Middle- 
ton, President of the first American Congress, 
though still partial to a cause for which he had 
been so long engaged, promised to do nothing to 
keep up the spirit of independence, and to demean 
himself as a faithful subject."* 

At the end of June, 1780, Cornwallis reported 
that all resistance in Georgia and South Carolina 
had ceased, and that as soon as the harvest was 
gathered he would march into North Carolina and 
subdue that State. He little suspected that those 
who appeared so submissive under duress were 
then meditating revenge for his indignities, and 
that common suffering was bringing exiles and 
patriots into concert of action and that they only 
waited the magnetic names of such leaders as 
Marion and Sumter and Clarke to form them into 
a combined force of relentless foes. 

Clinton, on the 5th of June, had sailed for New 
York, and left Lord Cornwallis in command of his 
victorious army. 

Cornwallis had 5,000 troops in South Carolina 
and 2,000 in Georgia, and expected to supplement 
this force with regiments he determined to organize 
among the loyalists of those States. The inhabi- 
tants in the districts were enrolled; the men above 
forty years were to be held responsible for order and 
the younger men were held liable to military service. 

*Bancroft, vol. 5, pp. 393-'4- 

Major Patrick Ferguson was sent into the dis- 
tricts to see that these organizations were made 
and the lists furnished to the commander. Any 
one found thereafter in arms against the King was 
to be sentenced to death for desertion and treason. 
u Commissions were put into the hands of men void 
of honor and compassion, and who gathered about 
them profligate ruffians and roamed through the 
State indulging in rapine and ready to put patriots 
to death as outlaws. Cornwallis never regarded a 
deserter, or any one whom a court-martial sentenced 
to death, as a subject of mercy. A quartermaster 
of Tarleton's Legion entered the house of Samuel 
Wyley, near Camden, and, because he had served 
as a volunteer in the defence of Charleston, cut him 
in pieces." 

The recitation of the wrongs and oppressions 
inflicted by this heartless commander upon the . 
people of these prostrate States might be length- 
ened into a volume of itself. Lord Rawdon, the 
next in command to Lord Cornwallis, vied with his 
chief in the burthens and exactions which he put 
upon the unfortunate and wretched citizens, and 
boasted of his shame and inhumanity. 

Cornwallis established military posts at George- 
town, Beaufort, Charleston and Savannah, on the 
coast, and at Augusta, Ninety-Six and Camden, in 
the interior. Camden was the key between the 
North and the South. 

We shall now leave Cornwallis indulging the 
delusive idea that he had conquered a lasting peace 


by breaking the strength and spirit of his seem- 
ingly helpless victims, and only waiting for the 
harvest to be gathered that he might find subsist- 
ence for the sanguinary hordes which he expected 
to lead in triumph through the devoted province of 
North Carolina. He knew her history : that in 
1771 her citizens had made armed resistance to 
extortion and tyranny at the bloody field of Ala- 
inance ; that the men of Mecklenburg had been the 
first to hurl defiance at British authority, and he 
was impatient to visit upon them the power of his 

Mr. Houston, a member of Congress from Georgia, 
hearing of the oppressive measures inflicted on his 
people, wrote to Mr. Jay in prophetic language : 

" Our misfortunes are, under God, the source of our 
safety. When they have wrought up the spirit of the 
people to fury and desperation, they will be driven from 
the country." 

The perilous condition of Charleston had aroused 
apprehensions over the whole country for the safety 
of that city and the army which was hemmed in its 
narrow limits. Washington, understanding the 
importance of prompt and decisive measures for the 
rescue of Lincoln, detached from his small army of 
only ten thousand five hundred men, the Maryland 
division of 2,000 men, and the Delaware regiment, 
and put them under marching orders for the Caro- 


The Baron DeKalb was given the command, but 
he met with many obstructions in his way. Charles- 
ton fell before he had passed through the State of 
Virginia. He entered North Carolina the 2oth 
June, 1780, and halted at Hillsbcro to rest his 
weary troops. 

North Carolina was at this time in poor condi- 
tion to resist invasion or repel her aggressive enemy. 
All of her regulars were languishing in British 
prisons on the sea-coasts ; such of her militia as 
had learned to make war in the recent campaigns 
of Georgia and South Carolina, and their veteran 
officers, were fettered with paroles and many of 
those who returned before Charleston was invested 
came to their homes with shattered constitutions and 
enfeebled by the malaria of that unhealthy region. 

She had only her militia and a part of her 
"minute men " to whom she could appeal for aid; 
and yet, so patriotic was the response to her call, 
that more men offered their services than could be 
armed. The State was almost destitute of military 

The Legislature called for 8,000 militia to repel 
the invasion, and Caswell in the east and Ruther- 
ford in the west were soon actively engaged in 
organizing these forces. " North Carolina made a 
requisition for arms on Virginia and received them. 
With a magnanimity which knew nothing of fear, 
Virginia laid herself bare for the protection of the 

^Bancroft, vol. 5, p. 384. 

In the western part of the State, General Grif- 
fith Rutherford, of Rowan County, on the approach 
of Tarleton, after the massacre at the Waxhaws, 
put himself at the head of 900 militia from tjie 
surrounding country and advanced to meet him, 
but on Tarleton's. retreat they were temporarily 

The subsequent actions of this command are so 
lucidly and accurately related by General Joseph 
Graham, of Lincoln County, that we prefer to incor- 
porate it in this work, rather than attempt to 
condense or enlarge it : 


" Fought the 2oth day of June, ijSo. 

" On the 3d of June, General Rutherford was informed 
of the advance of a part of the troops, under Lord Raw- 
don, to Waxhaw Creek, thirty miles south of Charlotte, 
and issued orders for the militia to rendezvous on the 
loth, at Rees' plantation, eighteen miles northeast of 
Charlotte. The militia, to the number of eight hundred, 
promptly assembled on the i2th. Having heard that 
Lord Rawdon had retired to Hanging Rock, General 
Rutherford advanced ten miles to Mallard Creek. 

"On the i4th the troops under his command were 
organized. The cavalry, sixty-five in number, under 
Major Davie, were equipped as dragoons, and formed in 
two troops under Captains Simmons and Martin. A 
battalion of three hundred light infantry was placed 
under the command of Colonel Win. L. Davidson, a 
regular officer, who could not join his regiment in 


Charleston, after that place was invested, and now joined 
the militia. 

" Five hundred men remained under the immediate 
command of General Rutherford. On the evening- of 
the i4th he received intelligence that the Tories were 
embodying in arms beyond the Catawba River, in Tryon 
County, about forty miles northwest of his (then) posi- 
tion. He issued orders to Colonel Francis Locke, of 
Rowan, Major David Wilson, of Mecklenburg, to Cap- 
tains Falls and Brandon, also to other officers, to make 
every effort to raise men to disperse the Tories, it being 
deemed impolitic by General Rutherford to weaken his 
own force until the object of Lord Rawdon's expedition 
was better ascertained. 

" On the 1 5th, General Rutherford advanced two miles 
to the south of Charlotte. On the lyth he was informed 
that Lord Rawdon had retired toward Camden, and the 
Tories were assembled in force at Ramsour's Mill, near 
the south fork of the Catawba. A man by the name of 
John Moore, whose father and family resided about six 
miles from Ramsour's Mill, had joined the British army 
the preceding winter, and leaving the detachment under 
Cornwallis on the march from Charleston to Camden, he 
arrived at his father's on the yth of June, wearing a 
sword and an old tattered suit of regimentals. He 
announced himself as a lieutenant colonel of the regi- 
ment of North Carolina loyalists commanded by Colonel 
John Hamilton, of Halifax County. He gave to the 
people of the neighborhood the first particular account 
they had received of the siege and capture of Charleston 
and the advance of the British troops to Camden. He 
appointed the loth of June for an assembling of the 
people in the woods on Indian Creek, seven miles from 


Kamsour's. Forty men assembled, and Moore told them 
it was not the wish of Lord Cornwallis that they should 
embody at that time, but that they and all other loyal 
subjects should hold themselves in readiness, and in the 
meantime get in their harvest; that before the getting 
in of the harvest it would be difficult to procure provis- 
ions for the British army; and that as soon as the country 
could furnish subsistence to the army, it would advance 
into North Carolina and support the royalists. 

" Before this meeting broke up an express arrived to 
inform them that Major Joseph McDowell, of Burke 
County, with twenty men, was within eight miles of them, 
in search of some of the principal persons of their party. 
Confident' of their strength, they resolved to attack Mc- 
Dowell, but some preparation being necessary, they 
could not march until next morning, when, finding he 
had retired, they pursued him to the ledge of the moun- 
tains which separate the counties of Lincoln and Burke, 
and not being able to overtake him, Moore directed them 
to return home and meet him on the i3th at Ramsour's 
Mill. On that day two hundred men met Moore, and 
they were joined on the next day by many others, among 
whom was Nicholas Welch, a major in the regiment 
commanded by Colonel Hamilton. He had lived in 
that neighborhood and had joined the British army 
eighteen months before. He was directly from the army 
of Lord Cornwallis, and gave information of Colonel 
Buford's defeat. He wore a rich suit of regimentals, 
and exhibited a considerable number of guineas, by 
which he sought to allure some, while he endeavored to 
intimidate others by an account of- the success of the 
British army in all operations of the South and the total 
inability of the Whigs to make further opposition. His 


conduct had the desired effect, and much more confi- 
dence was placed in him than in Colonel Moore. They 
remained in camp until the 2oth, during which time a 
detachment, commanded by Colonel Moore, made an 
unsuccessful attempt to capture Colonel Hugh Brevard 
and Major Joseph McDowell, each of whom came into 
the neighborhood with a number of Whigs to harass 
the Tories, who were assembling. 

" By the 2Oth nearly thirteen hundred men had assem- 
bled at Ramsour's, one-fourth of whom were without 
arms. General Rutherford resolved to concentrate his 
force and attack them as soon as he learned that Lord 
Rawdon had retired to Camden. With this view, he 
marched, on Sunday, theiSth, from his camp, south of 
Charlotte, to the Tuckaseege Ford, on the Catawba River, 
twelve miles nearer to Ramsour's. In the evening of 
that day he dispatched an express to Colonel Locke, 
advising him of his movement, and of the enemy's 
strength,, and ordering Locke to join him on the igth 
in the evening, or on the 2oth in the morning, a few 
miles in advance of the Tuckaseege Ford. The express 
was neglected and did not reach Colonel Locke. The 
morning of the i9th was wet, and the arms of General 
Rutherford's men were out of order. At midday the 
weather cleared up and orders were given to the men to 
discharge their guns. This discharge produced an alarm 
in the neighborhood, and the people, thinking that the 
Tories were attempting to cross the river, many of them 
came in with arms and joined Rutherford. In the even- 
ing- he crossed the river and encamped sixteen miles from 

"When Rutherford crossed the river, it was believed he 
would march in the night and attack the Tories next 


morning; but, expecting that his express had reached 
Colonel Locke, he awaited for Locke's arrival, that he 
might, on the next day, march in full to the attack. 

"At ten o'clock a-t night, Colonel James Johnston,* 
of Tryon County, reached Rutherford's camp. He had 
been dispatched by Colonel Locke to give notice of his 
intention to attack the Tories at sunrise the next morn- 
ing, and requesting Rutherford's co-operation. Ruther- 
ford, in confident expectation that his express had reached 
Colonel Locke, shortly after Colonel Johnston had left, 
made no movement. 

" In pursuance of the orders given to Colonel Locke, 
and the other officers at Mallard, on the i4th, they 
severally collected as many men as they could, and, on 
the morning of the i8th, Major Wilson, with sixty-five 
men, passed the Catawba at Tool's Ford and joined 
Major McDowell with twenty-five men. They passed 
up the river at right angles with the position of the 
Tories, to join the detachment of friends who were 
assembling at the upper fords. 

"AtMcEwen's Ford, being joined by Captain Falls, 
with forty men under his command, they continued 
their march up the east side of Mountain Creek, and 
on Monday, the iQth, they joined Colonel Locke, Captain 
Brandon and other officers, with two hundred and seventy 
men. The whole force united amounted to four hun- 
dred men. They encamped on Mountain Creek, sixteen 
miles from Ramsour's. 

"The officers met in council and they were unanimous 
in the opinion that it would be unsafe to remain in that 
position, as the Tories could attack them after a march 
of a few hours, and, from the inferiority of their force, 

*Father of Robert Johnston, Esq., of Lincoln county. 


they had no doubt the Tories would march on them as 
soon as they learned where they were. 

"It was first proposed that they should recross the 
Catawba at Sherrill's Ford, six miles in their rear, and 
wait for reinforcements, believing that they could pre- 
vent the Tories from crossing. To this, it was objected 
that a retrograde movement would embolden the Tories, 
whose numbers were increasing as fast as, probably, their 
own numbers would increase, after they had recrossed the 
River, and no additional security could therefore be 
obtained by such a movement. 

"It was next proposed that they should march directly 
down the river and join General Rutherford, who was 
then distant from them about thirty-five miles. 

"It was said this movement could be made without risk, 
as, in making it, they would not be nearer Ramsour's 
than they were. To this prudent proposition it was 
objected that nearly all the effective Whigs of that sec- 
tion were from home either with them or General Ruther- 
ford, and such a movement would leave their families 
exposed and their houses unprotected from pillage; that 
it would also be a dangerous movement for themselves 
and they might encounter them in their march. It was 
insinuated that these propositions proceeded, if not from 
fear, at least from an unwillingness to meet the Tories, 
and therefore another proposition was made, which was, 
notwithstanding their disparity of force, they should 
march during the night and attack the Tories in their 
camp early next morning. 

"It was said that, the Tories being ignorant of their 
force and suddenly attacked, would be easily routed. 
The more prudent members of the council could not 
brook the insinuation of cowardice, and, trusting to that 


fortune which sometimes crowns even rashness with suc- 
cess, it was unanimously resolved immediately to march 
and at daybreak to attack the Tories. Colonel Johnston, 
being well acquainted with the country, was immediately 
dispatched to apprise General Rutherford of this resolu- 

"Late in theevening they commenced their march from 
Mountain Creek, and passing down the south side of the 
mountain they halted at the west end -of it for an hour 
in the night, and the officers convened to determine on 
the plan of attack. It was determined that the com- 
panies commanded by Captains Falls, McDowell and 
Brandon should act on horseback and inarch in front. No 
other arrangements were made and it was left to the offi- 
cers to be governed bv circumstances after they should 
reach the enemy. They resumed their march and 
arrived within a mile of the enemy's camp at daylight. 

"The Tories were encamped on a hill three hundred 
yards east of Ramsotir's Mill and a half mile north of the 
present flourishing village of Lincolnton. The ridge 
stretched nearly to the east on the south side of the mill- 
pond, and the road leading to the Tuckaseege Ford, by 
the mill, crosses the point of the ridge in a northwestern 
direction. The Tories occupied an excellent position 
on a summit of the ridge, their right on the road front- 
ing the south. The ridge has a very gentle slope, and 
was then interspersed with only a few trees, and the fire 
of the Tories had full rake in front for more than two 
hundred yards. The foot of the hill was bounded by a 
glade, the side of which was covered with bushes. The 
road passed the western end of the glade at right angles; 
opposite the centre of the line and on the road a fefice 
extended from the glade to a point opposite the right of 

the line. The picket guard, twelve in number, were 
stationed on the road, two hundred and fiftv yards south 
of the glade, and six hundred yards from the encamp- 

"The companies of Captains Falls, McDowell and 
Brandon, being mounted, the other troops under Colonel 
Locke were arranged in the road, two deep behind them, 
and, without any other organization or orders, they were 
marched to battle. When the horsemen came within 
sight of the picket, they perceived that their approach 
had not been anticipated. 

"The picket fired and fled to their camp. The horse- 
men pursued, and turning to the right, out of the road, 
they rode up within thirty steps of the line and fired at 
the Tories, who, being in confusion, had not time to form 
their line; but seeing only a few men assailing them, 
they quickly recovered from their panic, and poured in a 
destructive fire, which obliged the horsemen to retreat. 
They retreated in disorder, passing through the infantry, 
who were advancing; several of the infantry joined them 
and never came into action. At a convenient distance 
the greater part of the horsemen rallied, and returning 
to the fight, exerted themselves with spirit during its 
continuance. The infantry hurried to keep near the 
horsemen in pursuit of the picket, and their movements 
being very irregular, their files were opened six or eight 
steps, and when the front approached the Tories, the 
rear was eighty poles back. 

"The Tories seeing the effect of their fire, came down 
the hill a little distance and were in fair view. The 
infantry of the Whigs kept the road to the point between 
the glade and the corner of the fence opposite the centre 
of the Tories. 


"Here the action was renewed; the front fired several 
times before the rear came up. The Tories being on 
their left they deployed to the right in front of the glade 
and came into action without order or system. In some 
places they were crowded together in each others' way; 
in other places there were none. As the rear came up, 
they occupied' those places, and the line gradually 
extending, the action became general and obstinate on 
both sides. In a few minutes the Tories began to retire 
to their position on the top of the ridge, and soon fell 
back a little behind the ridge, to shelter part of their 
bodies from the fire of the Whigs, who were fairly 
exposed to their fire. In this situation their fire became 
very destructive, so that the Whigs fell back to the 
bushes near the glade, and the Tories, leaving their safe 
position, pursue i half way down the ridge. At this 
moment Captain Harden led a party of Whigs into the 
field and under cover of the fence, kept up a galling fire 
on the right flank of the Tories; and some of the Whigs 
discovering that the ground on the right was more favor- 
able to protect them from the fire of the Tories, obliqued 
in that direction towards the east end of the glade. This 
movement gave their lines the proper extension. They 
continued to oblique in this direction until they turned 
the left flank of the Tories; and the contest being well 
maintained in the centre, the Tories began to retreat up 
the ridge. They found part of their position occupied 
by the Whigs. In that quarter the action became close, 
and the parties mixed together in two instances; and, 
having no bayonets, they struck at each other with the 
butts of their guns. In this strange- contest, several of 
the Tories were taken prisoners, and others, divesting 
themselves of their mark of distinction (a twig of green 


pine-top stuck in their hats), intermixed with the Whigs, 
and all being in their common dress, escaped unnoticed. 

"The Tories finding the left of their position in pos- 
session of the Whigs, and their centre being closely 
pressed, retreated down the ridge towards the pond, 
exposed to the fire of the centre and of Captain Harden 1 s 
company behind the fences. The Whigs pursued until 
they got entire possession of the ridge, when they dis- 
covered, to their astonishment, that the Tories had 
collected in force on the other side of the creek beyond 
the mill. They expected the fight would be renewed, 
and attempted to form a line, but only eighty-six men 
could be paraded. Some \vere scattered during the 
action, others were attending to their wounded friends, 
and, after repeated efforts, not more than one hundred 
and ten men could be collected. 

" In this situation of things, it was resolved that Major 
Wilson and Captain Win. Alexander, of Rowan, should 
hasten to General Rutherford and urge him to press 
forward to their assistance. Rutherford had marched 
early in the morning, and at a distance of six or seven 
miles from Ramsour\s, was met by Wilson and Alexan- 
der. Major Davie's cavalry was started at full gallop, 
and Colonel Davidson's infantry were ordered to hasten 
on with all possible speed. At the end of two miles they 
were met by others from the battle, who informed them 
that the Tories had retreated. The march was continued, 
and troops arrived on the ground two hours after the 
battle had closed. The dead and most of the wounded 
were still lying where they fell. 

" As soon as the action begun, those of the Tories who 
had no arms, and several who had, returned across the 
creek. They were joined by others when they were first 

beaten up tht ridge, and by two hundred well armed,, 
who had arrived two^days before from Lower Creek, in 
Burke County, under Captains Whiston and Murray. 
Colonel Moore and Major Welch soon joined them. 
Those of the Tories who continued the fight to the last 
crossed the creek and joined as soon as the Whigs got 
possession of the ridge. Believing that they were com- 
pletely beaten, they formed a stratagem to secure their 
retreat. About the time that Wilson and Alexander 
were dispatched to General Rutherford, they sent a flag, 
under a pretence of proposing a suspension of hostilities, 
to make arrangements for taking care of the wounded 
and burying the dead. To prevent the flag officer from 
perceiving their small number, Major James Rutherford 
and another officer were ordered to meet him a short 
distance from the line. The proposition being made, 
Major Rutherford demanded that the Tories should sur- 
render in ten minutes, and then the arrangements should 
be made that were requested. 

"In the meantime, Moore and Welch gave orders 
that such of their men as were on foot, or had inferior 
horses, should move off singly as fast as they could, and 
when the flag returned not more than fifty remained. 
They immediately fled. Moore, with thirty men, reached 
the British army at Camden, where he was threatened 
with a trial by a court-martial for disobedience of orders 
in attempting to embody the royalists before the time 
appointed by the Commander-in-chief. He was treated 
with disrespect by the British officers, and held in a state 
of disagreeable suspense; but it was at length deemed 
impolitic to order him before a court-martial. 

"As there was no organization of either party, nor 
regular returns made after the action, the loss could not 

(6 2 ) 

be ascertained with correctness. Fifty-six lay dead on 
the side of the ridge where the heat of the action pre- 
vailed. Many lay scattered on the flanks and over the 
ridge toward the mill. It is believed that seventy were 
killed, and that the loss on each side was equal. About 
one hundred men on each side were wounded, and fifty 
Tories were taken prisoners. The men had no uniform, 
and it could not be told to which party many of the dead 
belonged. Most of the Whigs wore a piece of white 
paper on their hats in front, and many of the men on 
each side being excellent riflemen, this paper was a mark 
at which the Tories otten fired, and several of the Whigs 
were shot in the head. The trees, behind which both 
W 7 higs and Tories occasionally took shelter, were grazed 
by the balls; and one tree on the left of the Tory line, 
at the root of which two brothers lay dead, was grazed 
by three balls on one side and two on the other. 

" In this battle neighbors, near relations and personal 
friends fought against each other, and as the smoke from 
time to time would blow off, they would recognize each 
other. In the evening, and on the next day, the rela- 
tions and friends of the dead and wounded came in, and 
a scene was witnessed truly afflicting to the feelings of 

"After the action commenced, scarcely any orders 
were given by the officers. They fought like common 
soldiers, and animated their men by their example, and 
they suffered severely. Captains Falls, Dobson, Smith, 
Bowman and Armstrong were killed; and Captains 
Houston and McKissick wounded." 

The battle of Ramsour's Mill was fought the 
very day the Baron DeKalb arrived at Hillsboro, 
North Carolina. 

(6 3 ) 

Its effect was to completely crush out the Tory 
element in that portion of the State, and they never 
attempted to organize again during the war. The 
men who assembled at Ramsour's Mill to resume 
their allegiance to the British Government were 
not marauders in" search of plunder, nor violent 
men seeking revenge for injuries inflicted in border 
warfare ; the}' were nearly all simple-minded, artless 
Germans, industrious, frugal and honest citizens, 
who had never been in arms before, nor suffered 
persecutions from the Whigs. They believed the 
representatives of the army of Cornwallis, who 
informed them that the royal authority had been 
re-established in the South, and they were confirmed 
in this by the accounts of the absolute subjection 
of South Carolina and Georgia, and the example of 
leading citizens of those States who had " taken 
Britisl] protection." They came to renew their 
citizenship and allegiance, as they thought duty 
and conscience required. Only a few hundred were 
armed, they were undisciplined and unorganized, 
and yet, when contending for what they believed 
to be right, they evinced a courage and resolution 
worthy of a better cause. 

Though Cornwallis encamped on this very ground, 
in the January following, and urged them to join 
the royal standard again, none of them were after- 
wards found among the British forces. They went 
back to their peaceful and plentiful homes " wiser 
and better men." 


Captain Dobson, of the Whigs, was buried upon 
the battle-field and several of his family have been 
laid beside him. His grave, surrounded by a neat 
brick wall, is near-the highway leading north from 
Lincolnton to Newton, Catawba County. The next 
day after the battle the friends and neighbors of 
both parties assembled and decently interred the 
dead. A long trench or grave was dug, running 
northeast and southwest, and into this were placed 
Whig and Tory alike, while those who performed 
this sad rite were representatives of both sides. A 
large pine tree on the summit of the hill, in the 
field, marks the line of this burial place. 

The McDowell mentioned in General Graham's 
narrative was Joseph McDowell, of Burke County, 
known as " Quaker Meadows Joe " to distinguish 
him from his cousin " Pleasant Garden Joe." 
McDowell was afterwards a leader at King's Moun- 
tain and Cowpens, a member of Congress, and 
brigadier general of militia, and was called General 
Joseph McDowell. We shall have occasion to speak 
more fully in regard to him hereafter. 

After the battle of Ramsour's Mill, Major Davie 
took position on the north side of Waxhaw Creek, 
south of Charlotte. Here he was reinforced by 
Major Crawford with some South Carolina troops, 
and 35 Catawba Indians under their chief u New 
River, 11 and the Mecklenburg County militia under 
Colonel Higgins : 

i i 

Davie was one of the most splendid and knightly 
figures on the American continent. He was then fresli 


from his law books and only 25 years old. Tail, grace- 
ful and strikingly handsome, he had those graces of 
person which would have made him the favorite in the 
clanging lists of feudal days. To this he added elegant 
culture, thrilling eloquence, and a graciousness of manner 
which was to charm in after days the salons of Paris. 
He had won high honors and had been dangerously 
wounded at Stono, on the 2oth June, 1779. . Since then 
he had expended the whole of his estate in equipping, 
at his own cost, the only organized body of troops now 
left to do battle in behalf of the cause he loved."* 

"General Davie was not only distinguished as an 
intelligent but an intrepid soldier. His delight was to 
lead a charge ; and, possessing great bodily strength, is 
said to have overcome more men, in personal conflict, 
than any individual in the service, "f 

Such was the soldier and hero who was now, in 
this dark and depressing hour of our history, about 
to strike the British outposts and restore confidence 
and hope to the people. He was on familiar 
ground, among the scenes of his early childhood 
and maturer years. He was inspired by a fervid 
ambition to deeds of valor and patriotism, and his 
friends and associates were to be witnesses of his 
achievements. Their hopes of deliverance from the 
sword and the prison, or perhaps the gallows, were 
centred on him, and with noble daring he entered 
the lists determined with his little band of patriots 
and soldiers to strike the foe before "the harvest 

*Moore's History, vol. i, p. 265. 

tGarden's Anecdotes of the Revolution, p. 39. 



was gathered." He was now in four and a half 
miles of Hanging Rock, one of the British outposts, 
and on the 2pth July, he intercepted at Flat Rock 
a convoy of provisions and clothing intended for 
that garrison. The dragoons and volunteer loyalists 
who guarded the convoy were captured and brought 
to camp. The wagons and provisions were destroyed, 
but the horses, which were much needed, and the 
arms more so, were brought off in safety. 

This seemingly small affair aroused the spirit of 
his troops and they were ready for adventurous 
deeds. Davie resolved to gratify this spirit, and 
planned a strike at Hanging Rock. u With forty 
mounted riflemen and the same number of dragoons 
he approached the outpost. It was garrisoned by 
a strong force. While he was reconnoitering the 
ground to begin the attack, he received the informa- 
tion that three companies of mounted infantry, 
returning from an excursion, had halted at a house 
near the post. This house was in full view of 
Hanging Rock. It was a point of a right angle 
made by a lane, one end of which led to the enemy's 
camp, the other end to the woods. Davie advanced 
cautiously from the end near the .woods, while he 
detached his riflemen, whose dress was similar to 
the Tories, with orders to rush forward and charge. 
The riflemen passed the enemy's sentinels without 
suspicion or challenge, dismounted in the lane, and 
gave the enemy, before the house, a well-directed 
fire; the surprised loyalists fled to the other end, 
where they were received by the dragoons in full 

(6 7 ) 

gallop, who charged boldly on them and gave them 
another destructive volley. They retreated in con- 
fusion to the angle of the lane, where they were 
received by the infantry and charged with impetu- 
osity, which closed up all retreat. The dragoons 
surrounded them and they were cut to pieces in the 
very face of the British camp at Hanging Rock."* 
One hundred good muskets, recently issued to 
these recreant Tories, and sixty horses, so much in 
demand for the mounted riflemen, were secured by 
this second adventure. There was joy in the 
American camp, confidence was restored and the 
troops were eager to follow their dashing leader 
wherever his vigilance discovered a place to strike. 
They had arms and ammunition and horses now, 
furnished by Lord Cornwallis through his recent 
converts to loyalty, and they felt the impulse to 
use them. 

Colonel Sumter, of South Carolina, and Colonel 
Irwin, of North Carolina, had made an attempt on 
Flat Rock, the day that Davie cut the loyalists to 
pieces at Hanging Rock, but had been repulsed 
with severe loss. 

Davie had not, to this time, lost a single man. 
Colonels Sumter and Davie now met at Lansford, 
on the Catawba~ River, and agreed to unite their 
forces and make a combined attack on Hanging 
Rock. This was on the 5th day of August, 1780. 

When Major Davie advanced to" the Waxhaws, 
General Rutherford moved up the Yadkin River, 

*Wheeler's History, vol. 2, p. 192. 


hoping, to overtake or intercept Colonel Samuel 
Bryan, a Tory leader, from the upper Yadkin, who 
had embodied the loyalists of that section and was 
on his way to join the swelling numbers of Lord 

These Tories presumed, too, that the struggle 
was over, and, like vultures, were flocking together 
to share the prey. Bryan \vas too fleet for Ruther- 
ford. The news of Ramsour's Mill had put expe- 
dition into the feet of these renegades, and they 
inarched with great celerity until they reached 
Hanging Rock. There were about 100 of them. 

The garrison of Hanging Rock had in it now 
these North Carolina Tories, and about the same 
number of Tarleton's troops, who had taken part 
in the dreadful massacre of Buford's men, near 
where Davie lay in camp. 

Goaded by the tales of horror which the witnesses 
of that wretched butchery daily poured into his 
ears, and mortified beyond measure that North 
Carolina Tories were now in front of him, in the 
ranks of the oppressors, and remembering that his 
own fellow-citizen, Captain Stokes, had been slashed 
and dismembered of his good right arm by the men 
who were in the garrison of Hanging Rock, Davie 
was impatient to avenge himself and his State upon 
this miscreant band. " Tarleton's Quarters," mean- 
ing the black flag of revenge, had become a familiar 
by-word in the American camp, and the soldiers of 
Tarleton had little hope or reason to expect mercy 
when the day of reckoning should come. The 

(6 9 ) 

Whigs of that day seldom had time to take Tory 
prisoners, and no place to put them if captured. 
I shall now incorporate the account of the 


as related by Major Davie himself. It is taken 
from Wheeler's History: 

"On the 5th day of August, the detachments met 
again at Lansford, on the Catawba. Their strength was 
little diminished ; Major Davie had lost not one man. 
The North Carolina militia under Colonel Irwin and 
Major Davie numbered about five hundred men, officers 
and privates, and about three hundred South Carolinians 
under Colonels Sumter, Lacy and Hill. 

" It became a matter of great importance to remove 
the enemy from their posts, and it was supposed, if one 
of them was taken, the other would be evacuated. Upon 
a meeting of the officers, it was determined to attack the 
Hanging Rock on the following day. As this was an open 
camp, they expected to be on a more equal footing with 
the enemy, and the men whose approbation in those 
times was absolutely requisite, on being informed of the 
determination of the officers, entered into the project 
with spirit and cheerfulness. The troops marched in the 
evening and halted about midnight within two miles of 
the enemy's camp, and a council was now called to settle 
the mode of attack. 

"Accurate information had been obtained of the 
enemy's situation, who were pretty strongly posted in 
three divisions. 

"The garrison of Hanging Rock consisted of five 


hundred men ; one hundred and sixty infantry of Tarle- 
ton's Legion, a part of Colonel Brown's regiment, and 
Bryan's North Carolina Tory regiment. The whole 
commanded by Major Carden. 

"The regulars were posted on the right; a part of 
the British legion and Hamilton's regiment were at some 
houses in the centre, and Bryan's regiment and other 
loyalists some distance on the left, and separated from 
the centre by a skirt of wt>ods ; the situation of the 
regular troops could not be approached without an entire 
exposure of the assailants, and a deep ravine and creek 
covered the whole of the Tory camp. 

"Colonel Sumter proposed that the detachments 
should approach in three divisions, march directly to the 
centre encampments, then dismount, and each division 
attack its camp. This plan was approved by all the 
officers but Major Davie, who insisted on leaving the 
horses at this place and marching to the attack on foot, 
urging the confusion always consequent on dismounting 
under a fire, and the certainty of losing the effect of a 
sudden and vigorous attack. This objection was, how- 
ever, overruled. The divisions were soon made, and as 
the day broke the march recommenced. The general 
command was conferred on Colonel Sumter, as the senior 
officer; Major Davie led the column on the right,- con- 
sisting of his own corps, some volunteers under Major 
Bryan, and some detached companies of South Carolina 
refugees ; Colonel Hill commanded the left, composed of 
South Carolina refugees, and Colonel Irwin the centre, 
formed entirely of the Mecklenburg militia. They 
turned to the left of the road to avoid the enemy's picket 
and patrol, with an intention to return to it under 
cover of a defile near the camp; but the guides, either 

from ignorance or timidity, led them so far to the left 
that the right centre and left divisions all fell on the 
Tory encampment. These devoted people were soon 
attacked in front and flank and routed with great 
slaughter, as the Americans pressed in pursuit of the 
Tories who fled toward the centre encampment. Here 
the Americans received a fire from one hundred and sixty 
of the Legion infantry, and some companies of Hamil- 
ton's regiment posted behind a fence ; but their impetu- 
osity was not one moment checked by this unexpected 
discharge ; they pressed on, and the Legion infantry 
broke and joined in the flight of the loyalists, yielding 
their camp, without a second effort, to the militia. 

"At this moment a part of Colonel Brown's regiment 
had nearly changed the fate of the day. They, by a 
bold and skillful maneuvre, passed into a wood between 
the Tory and centre encampments, drew up unperceived, 
and poured in a heavy fire on the militia forming from 
the disorder of the pursuit on the flank of the encamp- 
ment. These brave men took instinctively to the trees 
and brush-heaps, and returned the fire with deadly effect; 
in a few minutes there was not a British officer standing, 
and many of the regiment had fallen, and the balance, 
on being offered quarters, threw down their arms. 

"The remainder of the British line, who had also 
made a movement, retreated hastily towards their former 
position and formed a hollow square in the centre of the 
cleared ground. 

"The rout and pursuit of these various corps by a 
part of one detachment, and plunder of the camp by 
others, had thrown the Americans into great confusion. 

"The utmost exertions were made by Colonel Suniter 
and the other officers to carry the men on to attack the 


British square ; about two hundred men and Davie' s 
dragoons were collected and formed on the margin of 
the roads, and a heavy but ineffectual fire was com- 
menced on the British troops. A large body of the enemy, 
consisting of the Legion infantry, Hamilton's regiment, 
and Tories, were observed rallying, and formed on the 
opposite side of the British camp, near the wood; and 
lest they might be induced to take the Americans in 
flank, Major Davie passed around the camp under cover 
of the trees, and charged them with his company of 
dragoons. The troops, under the impressions of defeat, 
were routed and dispersed by a handful of men. 

"The distance of the square from the woods, and the 
fire of the two pieces of field artillery, prevented the 
militia from making any considerable impression on the 
British troops, so that, on Major Da vie' s return, it was 
agreed to plunder the encampment and retire. As this 
party were returning towards the centre, some of the 
Legion cavalry appeared and advanced up in the Camden 
road with a countenance as if they meant to keep their 
position, but on being charged by Davie' s dragoons, they 
took the woods in flight, and only one was outdone. 

"A retreat was now become absolutely necessary; the 
British commissary's stores were taken in the centre 
encampment, and a number of the men were already 
intoxicated; the greatest part were loaded with plunder, 
and those in a condition to fight had exhausted their 
ammunition. About an hour had been employed in 
plundering the camp, taking the paroles of the British 
officers, and preparing litters for the wounded. 

"All this was done in full view of the British army, 
who consoled themselves with some military music, and 
an interlude of three cheers for King George, which was 


immediately answered by three cheers for the hero of 
America. The militia at length got into the line of 
march, Davie and his dragoons covering the retreat; bnt 
as the troops were loaded with plunder, and encumbered 
with their wounded friends, and many of them intoxi- 
cated, this retreat was not performed in the best military 
style. However, under all these disadvantages, they 
filed off unmolested, along the front of the enemy, about 
one o'clock. 

u The loss of the Americans was never correctly ascer- 
tained, for want of regular returns, arid many of the 
wounded being carried immediately, home from action. 
Captain Read, of North Carolina, and Captain McClure, 
of South Carolina, were killed. Colonel Hill, South 
Carolina, Major Wynn, South Carolina, Captain Craig- 
head, Lieutenant Fleucher. Ensign McLinn, wounded. 

u The British loss greatly exceeded ours. The loss of 
Bryan's regiment was severe. Sixty-two of Tarleton's 
Legion were killed and wounded. 

u Major Davie' s corps suffered much while tying their 
horses and forming under a heavy fire from the Tories, 
a measure which he had reprobated in the council which 
had decided on the mode of attack. 

"It is an evincible trait in the character of militia, 
that they will only obey their own officers in time of 
action, and this battle would have been more decisive 
had the troops not fallen into confusion in pursuit of the 
loyalists and the Legion infantry, by which circumstances 
the different regiments became mixed and confounded; 
or, had the divisions of this army left their horses where 
it was proposed they should, and inarched in such a 
manner as to have assailed each encampment at the same 
time, a vigorous and sudden attack might have pre- 


vented the British from availing themselves of their 
superior discipline; the other encampments must have 
been soon carried, and the corps remaining distinct, 
would have been in a situation to push any advantages 
that Davie's column might have gained over the British 

" This account is nearly verbatim from the manuscript 
left by Mr. Davie. 

"After the affair at Hanging Rock, Major Davie con- 
veyed his wounded to a hospital, which his foresight 
had provided at Charlotte, then hastened to the general 
rendezvous for the army under General Gates at Rugely's 

u On the 1 6th of August, 1780, about ten miles from 
Camden, Major Davie, on his way to unite his forces 
with General Gates, met a soldier. He was an American, 
and was in full speed. He arrested him as a deserter, 
but soon learned from him that on that fatal day, the 
whole American army, under General Gates, and the 
whole British force, under Cornwallis, had met, and 
that the British were triumphant. This unexpected 
information was too soon confirmed by the appearance of 
General Gates himself, in full flight. 

"General Gates desired Major Davie to fall back on 
Charlotte, or the dragoons would soon be on him. He 
replied, ' His men were accustomed to Tarleton, and did 
not fear him. ' Gates had no time to argue, but passed on. 

"Of General Huger, who then rode up, Major Davie 
asked how far the directions of Gates ought to be obeyed, 
who answered, 'Just as far as you please, for you will 
never see him again.' He again sent a gentleman who 
overtook General Gates, to say, that if he wished, he 
would return and bury his dead. The ahswer of Gates 
was, ' I say retreat ! Let the dead. bury the dead.' " 


The massacre of Buford's men was partially 
avenged. Bryan's Tories ended their weary march 
to fall before the sabres of Davie's dragoons, and 
learned that treachery was as dangerous as it was 

The Americans had now crossed bayonets with 
British infantry, flushed with victory and pride, 
and led them away captive. The spell of invinci- 
bility which had surrounded them was broken, 
their prestige was gone, and they were no longer 
dreaded nor feared by the Americans. Major 
Davie retreated to Charlotte sullen and irritated, 
and was rejoiced when a leader came in whom he 
confided. Leaving him at Charlotte, I will follow 
another band of patriots, who had gathered on the 
right of Davie and under leaders as impetuous and 
bold, if not as accomplished, as he, and whose track 
was marked by victor}' and vengeance keen and 

IA 1780, before the formation of the State of 
Tennessee, the counties of Washington and Sulli- 
van, the homes of Colonel Isaac Shelby and Colonel 
John Sevier u Nollichucky Jack" as his soldiers 
and neighbors familiarly and lovingly called him 
were in North Carolina, and both of these military 
heroes held civil and military offices in this State. 

Both of these men were the friends and fellow- 
soldiers of Colonel Charles McDowell, of Burke, 
and their lives ran parallel even to the storming of 
King's Mountain and the death of Patrick Ferguson. 

Governor Swain, in the University Magazine of 

( 76) 

March, 1861, says that the most correct account of 
the expeditions, in the summer of 1 780, of McDowell 
and Shelby, is found in the " National Portrait Gal- 
lery" (now before me), and that it was known to 
have been written substantially by Shelby himself ; 
and I shall offer no apology for transferring it to 
these pages. My object in this work is to give as 
nearly as possible the exact truth of history, and I 
can imagine no safer guide to such a result than to 
let those who made the history, if they be honest 
and true, tell the tale. Many authors, in endeavor- 
ing to extract truth from cotemporary narratives, 
give the gloss of their own feelings or judgment to 
the acts they record and seize only upon such facts 
as seem essential to establish their own opinion of 
these deeds: 


" In the summer of 1780, Colonel Shelby was in Ken- 
tucky locating and securing those lands which he had 
five years previously marked out and improved for him- 
self, when the intelligence of the surrender of Charleston, 
and the loss of the army, reached that country. He 
returned home in July of that year, determined to enter 
the service of his country, and remain in it until her 
independence should be secured. He could not continue 
to be a cool spectator of a contest in which the dearest 
rights and interests of his country were involved. 

" On his arrival in Sullivan, he found a requisition from 
Colonel Charles McDowell, requesting him to furnish all 


the aid in his power to check the enemy, who had over- 
run the two Southern States, and were on the borders of 
Nortli Carolina. Colonel Shelby assembled the militia 
of his county, and called upon them to volunteer their 
services for a short time on that interesting occasion, and 
marched, in a few days, with three hundred mounted 
riflemen, across the Alleghany Mountains. 

"In a short time after his arrival at McDowell's camp, 
near the Cherokee Ford of Broad River, Colonel Shelby, 
Lieutenant Colonels Sevier and Clarke, the latter a 
refugee officer from Georgia, were detached, with six 
hundred men, to surprise a post of the enemy in front, 
on the waters of the Pacolet River. It was a strong fort, 
surrounded by abattis, built in the Cherokee war, and 
commanded by that distinguished loyalist, Captain Pat- 
rick Moore. On the second summons to surrender, after 
the Americans had surrounded the post within musket 
shot, Captain Moore surrendered the garrison, with one 
British sergeant major, ninety-three loyalists, and two 
hundred and fifty stand of arms, loaded with ball and 
buckshot, and so arranged at the portholes as to have 
repulsed double the number of the American detach- 

"Shortly after this affair, Colonels Shelby and Clarke 
were detached, with six hundred mounted men, to watch 
the movements of the enemy, and, if possible, to cut up 
his foraging parties. 

"Ferguson, who commanded the enemy, about twen- 
ty-five hundred strong, composed of British and Tories, 
with a small squadron of British horse, was an officer of 
great enterprise, and, although only a major in the 
British line, was a brigadier general in the royal militia 
establishment, made by the enemy after he had overrun 


South Carolina, and was esteemed the most distinguished 
partisan officer in the British army. 

44 He made several attempts to surprise Colonel Shelby, 
but his designs were baffled. On the first of August, 
however, his advance, about six or seven hundred strong, 
came up with the American commander at a place he 
had chosen for battle, called Cedar Spring, where a sharp 
conflict ensued for half an hour, when Ferguson 
approached with his whole force. , 

"The Americans then retreated, carrying off the field 
fifty prisoners, mostly British, including two officers. 

"The enemy made great efforts for five miles to regain 
the prisoners ; but the American commander, by forming 
frequently on the most advantageous ground to give 
battle, so retarded the pursuit that the prisoners were 
placed beyond their reach. The American loss was ten 
or twelve killed[and wounded. It was in the severest 
part of this action, that Colonel Shelby's attention was 
arrested by the heroic conduct of Colonel Clarke. He 
often mentioned the circumstance of ceasing in the 
midst of battle, to look with astonishment and admira- 
tion at Clarke fighting. 

"General McDowell having received information that 
five or six hundred Tories were encamped at Musgrove's 
Mill, on the south side of the Enoree, about forty miles 
distant, again detached Colonels Shelby, Clarke and Wil- 
liams, of South Carolina, with about seven hundred 
horsemen, to surprise and disperse them. Major Fergu- 
son, with his whole force, occupied a position immediately 
on the route. 

"The American commanders took up their line of 
march from Smith's Ford of Broad River, just before 
sundown, on the evening of the i8th of August, 1780, 

continued through the woods until danc, and then pur- 
sued a road, leaving Ferguson's camp about three miles 
to the left. They rode very hard all night, frequently 
in a gallop, and just at the dawn of day, about a half a 
mile from the enemy's camp, met a strong patrol party. 
A short skirmish ensued, and several of them were killed. 
At that juncture, a countryman, living just at hand, 
came up and informed them that the enemy had been 
reinforced the evening before with six hundred regular 
troops (the Queen's American regiment from New 
York, under Colonel Innes, destined to reinforce Fergu- 
son's army.) The circumstances attending the informa- 
tion were so minute that no doubt was entertained of its 
truth. To march on and attack the enemy then seemed 
to be improper; fatigued and exhausted .as were the 
Americans and their horses, to attempt an escape was 
impossible. They instantly determined to form a breast- 
work of old logs and brush, and make the best defence 
in their power. Captain Inman was sent out with 
twenty-five men to meet the enemy, and skirmish with 
them as soon as they crossed the Enoree River. 

"The sound of their drum and bugle horns soon 
announced their movements. Captain Inman was ordered 
to fire upon them and retreat, according to his own dis- 
cretion. This stratagem (which was the suggestion of 
the Captain himself) drew the enemy out in disorder, 
supposing they had forced the whole party ; and when 
they came up within seventy yards, a most destructive 
fire commenced from the American riflemen, who were 
concealed behind the breastwork of logs. It was an hour 
before the enemy could force the riflemen from their 
slender breastwork ; and just as they began to give away 
in some parts, Colonel limes was wounded, and all the 


British officers, except a subaltern, being previously killed 
or wounded, and Captain Hawsey, a noted leader among 
the Tories being shot down, the whole of the enemy's 
line commenced a retreat. The Americans pursued 
them closely, and beat them across the river. 

"In this pursuit Captain Inman was killed, bravely 
fighting the enemy hand to hand. Colonel Shelby com- 
manded the right wing, Colonel Clarke the left, and 
Colonel Williams the centre. According to McCalPs 
History of Georgia, the only work in which this battle is 
noticed, the British loss is stated to be sixty-three killed 
and one hundred and sixty wounded and taken; the 
American loss to be four killed and nine wounded. 
Amongst the former, Captain Inman and amongst 
the latter, Colonel Clarke and Captain Clarke. The 
Americans returned to their horses, and mounted with a 
determination to be, before night, at Ninety-Six, at that 
time a weak British post, distant only thirty miles. At 
that moment an express came up from General McDowell 
in great haste, with a short letter in his hand from Gov- 
ernor Caswell, dated on the battle ground, apprising 
McDowell of the defeat of the American grand army 
under General Gates,, on the i6th, near Camden, and 
advising him to get out of the way, as the enemy would, 
no doubt, endeavor to improve their victory, to the 
greatest advantage, by destroying all the small corps of 
the Alnerican army. 

" It was a fortunate circumstance that Colonel Shelby 
knew Governor Caswell' s handwriting, and what reli- 
ance to place upon it ; but it was a difficult task to avoid 
the enemy in his rear, his troops and their horses being 
fatigued, and encumbered with a large number of British 
prisoners. These, however, were immediately distributed 


amongst the companies, so as to make one to every three 
men, who carried them alternately on horseback, directly 
towards the mountains. The Americans continued their 
inarch all that day and night, and the next day until 
late in the evening, without even halting to refresh. 
This long and rapid march saved them ; as they were 
pursued, until late in the afternoon of the second day 
after the action, by a.strong detachment from Ferguson's 
army. Colonel Shelby, after seeing the party and pris- 
oners out of danger, retreated to the western waters with 
his followers, and left the prisoners in charge of Colonels 
Clarke and Williams, to convey them to some point of 
security in Virginia ; for at that moment there was not 
the appearance of a corps of Americans south of that 

"The panic which followed the defeat of Gates and 
Sumter induced the corps of McDowell's army to dis- 
perse, some to the west and some to the north. The 
brilliancy of this affair was obscured, as indeed were all 
the minor incidents of the previous war, by the deep 
gloom which overspread the public mind after the disas- 
trous defeat of General Gates. ' ' 

This was the foretaste that Ferguson had of 
these "dare-devils," u over-mountain men;" these 
hardy hunters and Indian fighters of the mountain 
wilderness ; these children of nature, whose expe- 
rience and common sense were their only guides, 
and whose sleepless vigilance was their protection 
from danger. They all carried the Deckhard rifle, 
called for the maker, who lived in Lancaster, Penn- 
sylvania. It was generally three feet six inches 


long, weighed about seven pounds, and ran seventy 
bullets to the pound of lead. This rifle was remark- 
able for the precision and the distance of its shot. :i: 

Ferguson himself was one of the finest rifle 
shots in the world, and was the inventor of a breech- 
loading rifle used at that date in the British army. 
It could be fired seven times a minute. He, there- 
fore, knew how effective the rifle was in the hands 
of a steady and determined soldier, and he dreaded 
the encounter with these men which was, in the 
near future, before him.f 

There was still a third partisan corps of North 
Carolinians that gathered to the left of Davie on 
the Pee Dee. 

A considerable number of North Carolina militia 
assembled on the 2Oth of July at Anson Court 
House. Observing this movement Major Me Ar- 
thur, who commanded the British forces on the Pee 
Dee, called in his detachments and marched to join 
the royal army at Camden. On the day that he 
left, the inhabitants, distressed by McArthur's 
depredations upon them, generally took up arms. 
Lord Nairne and one hundred and six invalids, 
descending the river, were made prisoners by a 
party of the Americans command'ed by Major 
Thomas, who had lately been received as loyal sub- 
jects. A large boat, well filled with supplies for 
McArthur, was also seized. All the new-made 

*Ramsay's Annals of Tennessee, p. 228. 
+Ramsay's Annals of Tennessee, p. 224. 

British militia officers, excepting Colonel Mills,* 
were made prisoners by their own men.f 

While these partisan leaders in Western North 
Carolina, volunteers without wages or rations, 
were threatening and attacking the British out- 
posts and intercepting and destroying their convoys, 
the militia of the State was assembling at Cheraw 
Hill, in South Carolina, where whey arrived about 
the ist day of August, 1780. This point is just 
across the State line, sixty-five miles from Char- 
lotte and one hundred and six miles from Wil- 
mington. The men of the west were under Briga- 
dier General Rutherford of Rowan, those of the 
east under General Isaac Gregory of Camden 
County, and those from the centre under General 
John Butler of Orange. This last was an old Regu- 
lator, for whose head Tryon had offered a high 
reward in 1771. Butler had never ceased to hope 
and to struggle for freedom. The militia, to use a 
familiar term, were " raw " and undisciplined and 
not accustomed to be organized into large bodies. 
Their mode of fighting was in small bands, under 
chosen leaders individually known to every soldier 
in the ranks, and they followed their leader because 
they confided in him personally. Personal faith 
gave them steadiness and energy. The rifle was 
their weapon and a tree their protection from the 
cavalry and the bayonet. In this mode of warfare 
they excelled; they knew but little of any other. 

^Captured at King's Mountain and hung. 
fRamsay's History of South Carolina, p. 202. 

(8 4 ) 

These generals were all sincere patriots and brave 
men. " General Rutherford was an Irishman by 
birth, uncultivated in mind and manners, but brave, 
ardent and patriotic, "* and, no doubt, as impulsive 
in his nature as any son of the Emerald Isle and 
as heartily opposed to British tyranny as any of 
his race. He resided west of Salisbury, in the 
Locke settlement. He was an Indian fighter and 
had commanded 2,400 men in 1776 in a successful 
invasion of the Cherokee nation. Of General 
Gregory we know but little, but- that little is hon- 
orable alike to his courage and his patriotism. He 
shed his blood for the cause. 

General Horatio Gates, the captor of Burgoyne's 
army, the accidental victor of one battle, had, on the 
1 3th day of June, been appointed by Congress corn- 
man der-in-chief of the Southern army and about 
the 25th of July he reached the camp of DeKalb, 
on Deep River, in North Carolina, seventy-five 
miles northeast of Caswell's camp at Cheraw, and 
superseded him. Sad day for American history 
when vanity and arrogance were promoted over 
unselfish courage and conservative j udgment ; when 
the martinet ranked the soldier, and the adventurer 
took command of the patriot. 

General Washington greatly desired to have 
General Nathanael Greene appointed to this com- 
mand, but popular enthusiasm had become so much 
aroused by the capture of Burgoyne that the people 
and their representatives in Congress were deaf to 

*Wheeler, vol. 2, p. 382. 


every remonstrance and impatient of any suggestion 
which questioned the greatness and' invincibility 
of General Gates. It was said that Washington 
"had slain his thousands, but Gates had slain his 
tens of thousands." The opposition of Washington 
was attributed to jealousy and envy and he was 
compelled to yield reluctantly to the popular clamor. 
It was a repetition 'of the old story of republics in 
which the people sing hosannas one day to the 
conquering hero and cry "crucify him" the next; 
but the people are much like children or "foolish 
virgins" they seldom learn wisdom except in the 
suffering school of experience. Like children they 
often need to be restrained or forced, as occasion 
may require, 'by a master's hand. A little tyranny 
might have been wholesome in 1 780, but Washing- 
ton had no element of this character in his nature. 
He preferred sacrifice with the people rather than 
glory or success through the exercise of arbitrary 
power.. He not only yielded to Congress but gave 
to Gates more than one-fourth of his best troops, 
regulars and.veterans from Maryland and Delaware. 
A strange infatuation took possession of General 
Gates; he contemned cavalry and heard with 
indifference the suggestion of their necessity in an 
open country where they could move with celerity 
and obtain the information so absolutely necessary 
to the success of military operations. Cavalry are 
figuratively called the eyes and ears of an army, 
and these Gates closed and went forward like the 
blind leading the blind, and the ditch of disaster 


was not far removed. Caswell has been accused of 
" disregarding orders from the vanity of acting 
separately, " :i: but Gates was equally foolish in 
making no attempt to reconcile these differences 
and secure unity and harmony of action. DeKalb, 
wise, prudent and cautious, advised that Camden 
should be approached from the direction of Meck- 
lenburg and Rowan, where stores could be procured 
for the army and a line of retreat be prepared in 
the event of disaster ; but Gates was imperious and 
obstinate and would listen to no plan except march- 
ing directly through a barren wilderness to attack 
Rawdon, without inquiring what was his force or the 
strength of his situation. 

"Orders were immediately issued to the troops 
to hold themselves in readiness to move at a 
moment's warning, and on the 2yth July, 1780, the 
irmy was marching in the direct route across the 
barrens to Mark's Ferry on the Pee Dee. He had 
not at this time one day's provision to serve out for 
his army."t On the yth da}^ of August Gates 
formed a junction with Caswell and on the i3th the 
combined forces encamped at Rugely's Mills near 
Camden. The next day General Stevens of Vir- 
ginia came up with a brigade of militia. In the 
meantime Lord Cornwallis, having been apprised 
of the advance of the American army, left Charleston 
with a large reinforcement and reached L-ord Raw- 
don at Camden before dawn of the i4th, and at ten 

*Bancroft, vol. 5, p. 384. 

tjohnsou's L,ife of Greene, vol. r, p. 294. 


o'clock on the night ot the i5th set his troops in 
motion in the hope of attacking the Americans at 
the break of day. 

General Gates was wholly ignorant that Corn- 
wallis had reinforced Rawdon, and supposing that 
he could obtain an easy victory over the latter, who 
was inferior in numbers, he put the American army 
in motion on the liight of the i5th of August also, 
with the view of surprising Lord Rawdon. 

"The unhappy fate which awaited, him is that 
which must ever attend the commander who neg- 
lects the means of intelligence. His laurels were 
strewn in the dust, his venerable head bowed down 
with humiliation, an army destroyed and the South- 
ern States brought to the verge of ruin."* 

Both armies unexpectedly met in the night. The 
British fired into Colonel Armand's cavalry which 
became disordered and fled, but the infantry under 
Porterfeild and Armstrong, of North Carolina, 
checked the advance. Both armies were surprised 
and apprehensive, and by mutual consent, as it were, 
withdrew to await the attack of the other. When 
the long night of weary suspense had passed the 
lines of battle were formed, which Bancroft thus 
describes : "The position of Lord Cornwallis was 
most favorable. A swamp on each side secured his 
flanks against the superior numbers of the Ameri- 
cans. At daybreak his last dispositions were made. 
The front line, to which was attached two six- 
pounders and two three-pounders, was commanded 
on the right by Lieutenant Colonel Webster, on 

*Johnsou's Life of Greeue, vol. i, p. 297. 

the left by Lord Rawdon ; a battalion with a six- 
pounder was posted behind each wing as a reserve ; 
the cavalry were in the rear read}- to charge or to 

" On the American side the second Maryland 
brigade with Gist for its brigadier, and the men of 
Delaware occtipied the right under DeKalb; the 
North Carolina division, with Caswell, the centre, 
and Stevens with the newly arrived Virginia militia, 
the left; the best troops on the side strongest by 
nature, the worst on the weakest. 

"The first Maryland brigade, at the head of which 
Smallwood should have appeared, formed a second 
line about two hundred yards in the rear of the first. 
The artillery was divided between the two brigades."' 

This corresponds with the account given by 

The opposite armies being thus arranged in order 
of battle, Lieutenant Colonel \Yebster was ordered 
by Lord Cornwallis to advance and charge the 
enemy. They met Stevens on the left, who was also 
advancing. The Virginia militia were untrained 
and undisciplined and soon gave way, the retreat 
became a rout and they fled in even- direction, 
throwing away their arms and knapsacks and intent 
only on escaping from the cavalry, which they 
dreaded, in their rear. The left flank of the North 
Carolina militia being thus exposed to a raking fire 
from the advancing British line and having no 

^Bancroft, vol. 5, pp. 3S7-'S. 

fHistory American War, vol. 2, p. 208. 


flbiitiat*lten 0r Kate felULJaei-ic 

iraiut cofrmaiti/ed rilishLemnir<J 
extend/Kg from rtxntlii atrorker sa*f. 
Second Posifloit parent UeKali breaks ttrea. 

Compiled anctDrai?*by(W.Carrirt(%OH. 


cavalry to protect them, began also to give way. 
General Rutherford acted with distinguished gal- 
Ian try, until he received a musket ball through his 
thigh, which disabled him and he was captured. 
General Butler vainly endeavored to keep the centre 
of the North Carolina line in position, but it and a 
part of the line under General Gregory, who was 
on the left, fled also. General Gregory, too, was 
wounded during the thickest of the fight, but by 
his courageous example a part of his brigade stoutly 
maintained its position and adhered to the Mary- 
land line. 

Lee, in his ".Memoirs" of the war, thus narrates 
the noble conduct of this part of the North Carolina 
militia : 

" None without violence to the claims of honor and 
justice can withhold applause from Colonel Dixon and 
his North Carolina regiment of militia. Having their 
flank exposed by the flight of the other militia, they 
turned with disdain from the ignoble example; and 
fixing their eyes on the Marylanders, whose left they 
became, determined to vie in deeds of courage with their 
veteran comrades. Nor did they shrink from this 
daring resolve. In every vicissitude of the battle this 
regiment maintained its ground, and when the reserve 
under Smallwood, covering our left, relieved its naked 
flank, forced the enemy to fall back. Colonel Dixon had 
seen service, having commanded a Continental regiment 
under Washington. By his precepts and example he 
infused his own spirit into the breast of his troops, who, 
emulating the noble ardor of their leader, demonstrated 


the wisdom of selecting experienced officers to command 
raw soldiers. 

"The American war presents examples of first-rate 
courage occasionally exhibited by corps of militia, and 
often with the highest success. Here was a splendid 
instance of self-possession by a single regiment out of 
two brigades. Dixon had commanded a Continental 
regiment, and of course to his example and knowledge 
much is to be ascribed, yet praise is nevertheless due to 
the troops. 

"While I record with delight facts which maintain 
our native and national courage, I feel a horror lest 
demagogues, who flourish in a representative system of 
government [the best when virtue rules, the wit of man 
can devise] shall avail themselves of the occasional testi- 
mony to produce a general result. 

" Convinced, as I am, that a government is the mur- 
derer of its citizens which sends them to the field, unin- 
formed and untaught, where they are to meet men of 
the same age and strength mechanized by education and 
disciplined for battle, I cannot withhold my denuncia- 
tion of its wickedness and folly, much as I applaud, and 
must ever applaud those instances like the one before us> 
of armed citizens vicing with our best soldiers in the 
first duty of man to his country."* 

The English historian Lamb, an officer in the 
British army, say:f 

"The Continental troops behaved well, but some of 
the militia was soon broken. In justice to the North 
Carolina militia, it should be remarked, that part of the 

*Lee's Memoirs, pp. iS6-'7. 
fLamb's History, p. 304. 


brigade commanded by General Gregory acquitted 
themselves well. They were formed immediately on 
the left of the Continentals, and kept the field while they 
had a cartridge to fore ; Gregory himself was twice 
wounded by a bayonet in bringing off his men. Several 
of his regiment and many of his brigade, who were made 
prisoners, had no wound except from bayonets." 

There can be no doubt that if the North Carolina 
militia had been supported on their left by the 
Virginians, that the event of this battle would have 
been far different from the unfortunate result which 
followed their stampede. 

The stubborn courage of Dixon's regiment, which 
formed the left of the Maryland line, is the more 
conspicuous when we consider that it was not only 
attacked in front by Rawdon, but bore the brunt of 
the charge from the light infantry and twenty-third 
regiment, which had wheeled from the pursuit of 
Stevens and Rutherford and concentrated its fire 
on the North Carolinians who had stood their 
ground. Steadman relates that "Lord Rawdon 
began the action on the British left with no less 
vigor and spirit than Webster had done on the 
right; but here and in the centre, against a part of 
Webster's division, the contest was more obstinately 
maintained by the Americans, whose artillery did 
considerable execution. Their left flank was, how- 
ever, exposed by the flight of part of the militia; 
and the light infantry and twenty-third regiment, 
who had been opposed to the fugitives, instead of 


pursuing them, wheeled to the left and came upon 
the left of the American Continentals, who after a 
brave resistance for near three-quarters of an hour 
were thrown into total confusion."* 

The Marylanders and Delawares under DeKalb, 
with Dixon's regiment of North Carolinians, main- 
tained their position until, outflanked and outnum- 
bered, they were compelled to give ground. DeKalb's 
horse was killed under him and he himself severely 
wounded, but he continued the fight on foot. " At 
last," says Bancroft, a he led a charge, drove the 
division under Rawdon, took fifty prisoners and 
would not believe that he was not about to gain the 
day when Cornwallis poured against him a party 
of dragoons and infantry. Even then he did not 
yield until disabled by many wounds." 

Ramsay gives the following account of the cap- 
ture of DeKalb and General Rutherford : 

" Major General Baron DeKalb, an illustrious German 
in the service of France, who had generously engaged 
in the support of American independence, and who 
exerted himself with great bravery to prevent the defeat 
of the day, received eleven wounds, of which, though he 
received the most particular assistance from the British, 
he in a short time expired. Lieutenant Colonel Du- 
Buysson, aid-de-camp of Baron DeKalb, embraced his 
wounded General, announced his rank and nation to the 
surrounding foe, and begged that they would spare his 
life. While he generously exposed himself to save his 
friend, he received sundry dangerous wounds and was 

*Steadman, vol. 2, p. 209. 


taken prisoner. * Brigadier General Rutherford, a val- 
uable officer of the most extensive influence over the 
North Carolina militia, surrendered to a party of the 
British Legion, one of whom, after his submission, cut 
him in several places." 

With the fall of DeKalb all was lost. Tarleton's 
cavalry had now returned from the pursuit of the 
militia, and the only escape for the remaining 
Americans was to wade through the morass on their 
right. In this effort many of the officers made 
their way out singly or in groups, but Major An- 
derson, of the ad Maryland, who afterwards died a 
glorious death at Guilford, was the only officer who 
succeeded in keeping any organization. About one 
hundred of his men clung together with him, and 
came safely through to Charlotte, North Carolina. 
"Colonel Howard and others collected some men 
in their train, and the whole proceeded in a state 
of utter dissolution to Charlotte. Scarcely any of 
the wagons escaped, for the horses were used to 
carry the wounded officers. The artillery, baggage, 
everything became a prize to the victor, and to the 
utter astonishment, but infinite relief of the scat- 
tered Americans, Lord Cornwallis, satisfied with 
his triumph, returned to celebrate it in Camden, 
by offering the lives of his prisoners to the manes 
of his soldiers or the demon of revenge. "f 

The bayonet wounds received by General Greg- 
ory, of North Carolina, and the men of his brigade 

*Ramsay's South Carolina, p. 207. 
tjohnson's Life of Greene, vol. i, pp. 2g8-'9. 

attest the fact that the militia of North Carolina 
stood before this terrible weapon in the hands of 
the disciplined regulars of the British army, and 
grappled with their adversaries in deadly conflict. 
But few instances in military history occur where 
the cross of bayonets is recorded; but when it is, 
the weapons were in the hands of veterans who had 
been "mechanized" into unflinching soldiers. I 
venture to assert that history does not record 
another instance where native courage and a sense 
of duty enabled untrained militia to engage regular 
troops with the bayonet and "force them back." 
This peculiar glory belongs to North Carolina, by 
the concurrent testimony of friend and foe. 

Colonel Dixon, who won such immortal renown 
on this battlefield, was one of the officers who lost 
his position as major when the seven regular regi- 
ments were compressed into three in May, 1778. 
, He was familiarly known among his troops as 
"Hal. Dixon," a pet name of the soldiers who 
seem to have been familiar with him, and to have 
borne him great affection. He came to North Car- 
olina, and as soon as the call for the militia to join 
Caswell was made, he volunteered, and as colonel 
of militia performed heroic deeds at Camden. He 
survived the battle, and in 1781, as we shall see., 
was acting as Inspector General of militia, for want 
of a regular command. He never sulked in his 
tent, and was never idle when he could find any 
military duty to perform. I do not know his native 
county. He speaks in his letters in 1781 of 


returning to Caswell County. The roster of regu- 
lar troops has this entry opposite his name, " Dec'd 
July 17, 1782." 

Colonel Otho Williams, who wrote a defence of 
General Gates, and who is said to have advised 
Gates to march direct to Camden, says : 

"If in this affair the militia fled too soon the regulars 
may be thought as blameable for remaining too long on 
the field, especially after all hope of victory was 
despaired of." 

It is not within the scope of this work to discuss 
the merits of the question, but only to deal with 
facts and results. 

No place of rendezvous had been appointed by 
General Gates in case of defeat ; 110 order was given 
by him after the battle began, and every soldier 
who fled followed his own judgment and instinct 
of safety. Gates fled day and night until he reached 
Charlotte. He outstripped all his troops in this 

Rivington in his Gazette of September i3th, 
1780, says in regard to his continued flight, "that 
it was effected on a celebrated horse, the son of 
Colonel Baylor's Fearnaught, own brother to His 
Grace, of Kingston's famous 'Careles,' purchased 
of a general officer of the first distinction. "f 

It was in this Gilpin race that Gates met Colonel 
Win. R. Davie, who was inarching to his assistance, 

*Carrington Battles of the Am. Rev., p. 517. 
fMoore's Diary of Revolution, vol. 2, p. 312. 


and Davie urged that at least some one should be 
sent to look after the dead and wounded, and Gates 
replied: " Let the dead bury the dead." This was 
the only text of Scripture that occurred to the 
General that day, and in its literal application he 
seems to have found some justification and comfort. 
His usual reply, when reproached, was "I know 
how to pit a cock but I don't know how to make 
it fight," but in this apology there was little reason. 

Cornwallis reports the British arm}' at two 
thousand two hundred and thirty-nine, and his 
casualties sixty-eight killed and two hundred and 
fifty-six wounded, but it was undoubtedly more. 

General Gates subsequently reported the loss of 
General DeKalb and five officers killed and thirty- 
four officers wounded, including Lieutenant Colo- 
nels Woodford, Vaughn, Porterfeild and DeBuysson, 
who. were captured, and that by the 29th of August 
seven hundred non-commissioned officers and soldiers 
of the Maryland division had rejoined the army. :k 
The Delaware regiment was almost destroyed. 
" Lieutenant Colonel Vaughn and Major Patton 
being taken, its remnant, less than two companies, 
was afterwards placed under Kirkwood, Senior 

The North Carolina militia also suffered greatly; 
more than three hundred were taken prisoners and 
a large number killed and wounded. " Contrary 
to the usual course of events, and the general wish, 
the Virginia militia who set the infamous example 

*Carrington's Battles, pp. 5i7-'l8. 


which produced the destruction of the army r 
escaped entirely."* 

Well did the noble Delawares maintain the name 
of the "Blue Hen's Chickens" on that fatal day. 
They were "pitted" and their dead bodies were 
strewn all over that bloody field, while he who 
"pitted" them was cutting the wind on the "son 
of Fearnaught." 

This sobriquet of the " Blue Hen's Chickens " 
is said to have had its origin in the fondness of a 
certain Captain Caldwell for cock-fighting. He 
was an officer of this regiment distinguished for his 
daring and undaunted spirit. When officers were 
sent home for recruits they were admonished to get 
"game cocks," and as Caldwell insisted that no 
cock could be truly game whose mother was not a 
"blue hen," the expression "blue hen's chickens" 
was substituted for game cocks. This sport of 
cock-fighting was so popular in that day that General 
Sumter was called the "game cock" for his fight- 
ing qualities, while Marion, for his caution and 
cunning, was called the "swamp fox." We shall 
record the deeds of this gallant remnant of "blue 
hen's chickens " on other fields where glory and 
renown were won. 

By this victory the British came into possession 
of seven pieces of artillery, two thousand muskets, 
the entire baggage train and prisoners to the num- 

*Lee's Memoirs, p. 185. 

ber of one thousand, including Generals DeKalb, 
Rutherford and Gregory. * 

It was an appalling misfortune and carried con- 
sternation and dismay over the whole country ; and 
had Cornwallis followed up his victory by march- 
ing at once into North Carolina the last of the 
Southern States in his district might have been 
overrun, but in the exuberance of his joy over the 
defeat of the conqueror of Burgoyne and the recap- 
ture of the English cannon and the subjection of 
South Carolina, he lost his energy and j udgment 
and sat down to secure and organize the territory 
he had won, rather than add to his conquests. 
Tardiness was the weakness of Cornwallis. His 
extreme caution often taught him the danger of 
procrastination. It was owing to this fault that 
Morgan escaped with his men from the Cowpens 
later in the year. 

*Carrington's Battles. 


The Scattered Troops and Militia assemble at Charlotte Colonel W. 
L. Davidson General Sumner in Command of the Militia 
Letter from Governor Nash Patriotism of the People Corn- 
wallis leaves, September 7th, 1780, for North Carolina De- 
fence of Ctarlotte by Davie and Graham Hostile Spirit of the 
People Colonel Patrick Ferguson Movements of the Whig 
Leaders Battle of King's Mountain. 

ALL opposition in South Carolina seemed to be 
at an end. 

Late on the night of the i6th of August General 
Gates and General Caswell reached Charlotte 
together in their ignoble flight. Gates, leaving 
Caswell to collect the scattered troops at Charlotte, 
pressed onward to Hillsboro, riding altogether more 
than two hundred miles in three and a half days. 
Caswell, after remaining one day, followed Gates. 

Before leaving Charlotte General Caswell issued 
a proclamation calling on the scattered troops of 
the army to repair to Charlotte and for the militia 
to assemble there also. The militia of Mecklen- 
burg assembled, and the fugitives from Camden 
came in daily, but in a deplorable condition, hungry, 
fatigued, and almost naked, and many had thrown 
away their arms.* The regular troops mostly 
passed on to Hillsboro, where General Gates finally 
established his headquarters. William L. David- 
son, lieutenant colonel of regulars, who was just 
recovering from a wound received at Colson's 

^General Joseph Graham in University Magazine, vol. 5, p. 97. 

( TOO) 

in July, was appointed brigadier general of the 
militia, in the Salisbury district, in the place 
of General Rutherford who was then a prisoner. 
General Davidson formed a brigade and encamped 
on McAlpine's Creek, about eight miles below 
Charlotte, and in the course of a few weeks was 
reinforced by General Sumner, who, having no 
regulars to command, took the command of the 
militia from the counties of Guilford, Caswell and 

On the loth September, 1780, Governor Abner 
Nash writes to Willie Jones, that " General Small- 
wood, with the whole of the Maryland line left, is 
here (Hillsboro) by the order of General Gates. 
They amount to upwards of 700, which, with above 
200 regulars (arrived here yesterday) from Vir- 
ginia, make the whole of our Continental force. 
And how long they are to remain here I know not, 
for the general says that they must be completely 
refitted with clothes, tents and blankets before he 
will move them. The Virginia militia are mostly 
gone home. By the last accounts from Stevens, in 
Guilford, he had only about 120 men ; 1200 of our 
militia of the second draft, under General Sumner, 
are gone to Salisbury ; about i ,000 militia of the 
upper counties are assembled there and at Char- 
lotte, and in about five days hence 1200 fresh men 
will march from this district for the westward. 
In short, sir, we are, for the present, left pretty 
much to ourselves for the defence of this State, in 
want of wagons, horses, magazines of provisions, 

*University Magazine, vol. 5, p. 54. 

I O I 

arms, ammunition, tents and blankets, and a great 
portion of the interior part of the country against us. 
At the same time, I have the pleasure to assure 
you that our zeal and spirit rises with our difficul- 
ties, drafts are nearly at an end, our men yield to 
the necessity of the times and turn out to service 
with willing hearts. We are blessed with plentiful 
frops^ and, with proper laws, resources may easily 
be drawn forth for the defence of the country." 

This letter, so full of hope and courage, in a 
day when all seemed to be lost, and suffering and 
distress and confusion were on every hand, reflects 
honor on the history of the State, and the Governor 
who then wielded her executive power. Her. citi- 
zens "turned out to service with willing hearts," 
and their "zeal and spirit rose with their diffi- 

Major Win. R. Davie, who was hastening to join 
Gates, and met him in retreat, now fell back with 
his small force and took post at Charlotte. 

A letter published in 1856 from Major Davie to 
General Casvvell, dated August 29th, 1780, at Char- 
lotte, presents a vivid view of the state of affairs at 
that crisis.* He says: u Last Saturday, with some 
difficulty, a conflnand of 100 horse was made up. 
I proceeded with them down the country as far as 
three miles below Hanging Rock. The Tory 
militia have returned to their plantations, and 
threaten to plunder the country, and are murder- 
ing the Whiggist inhabitants. The counties of 
Rowan and Mecklenburg are rich in provision and 


strong in men, staunch, numerous and spirited, if 
the}- were only encouraged to take the field by 
timely assistance. A small body of regulars, with 
a few militia from .these counties, would still keep 
the enemy at bay. Our poor wounded in Camden 
are in a most wretched situation. Colonel Wilson 
told me General Rutherford had no surgeon but 
himself, and that many of them had never been 
dressed. Something should be done for them it 
is cruel. " : 

During this uncertain state of affairs, the Legis- 
lature of North Carolina, from an exaggerated 
estimation of General Small wood's services, created 
him a major general, and requested him, though a 
citizen of Maryland, to take command of our State 
militia. This very justly offended the pride and 
sensibilities of a number of State officers, and so 
mortified General Sunnier that for a short time he 
retired from the service and refused to serve under 
Small wood. Bancroft does not conceal his disgust 
at Small wood's absence from the scene at Camden, 
when the reserve was ordered to support the Mary- 
landers, Delawares, and North Carolinians, who 
were so sorely pressed in front and on the flanks, 
and Smallwood's claim to have saved them from 
rout is very questionable. 

1780. The suspense in regard to the future 
movements of Lord Cornwallis was broken on the 
yth day of September, when he moved out of Cam- 
den and marched by the way of the Waxhaws to 

^University Magazine, vol. 5, p. 184. 

Charlotte. At the same time he dispatched Colonel 
Patrick Ferguson in the direction of Ninety-Six, 
with a corps of one hundred picked regulars, where 
he -soon attached to him about 1200 of the hardy 
natives in. that region. His camp became the 
rendezvous of the desperate, tlie idle and the vin- 
dictive, as well as the youth of the loyalists/'" 
Colonel Tarleton, with the cavalry and light legion 
of infantry, was to pursue an intermediate course 
and move up the western banks' of the Wateree. 
Steadman says that "the reduction of the province 
of North Carolina was undoubtedly, at this time, 
confidently looked for. But to confound human 
wisdom and set at naught the arrogance and pre- 
sumption of man, unexpected incidents daily arise 
in the affairs of human life, which, conducted by 
an invisible hand, derange the best concerted 
schemes, as will be exemplified in the event of the 
present expedition." An expansion of the aphorism 
that "man proposes but God disposes," and never 
was the truth so strikingly beautiful as in this 
historical instance. u Darkness and clouds were 
round about the throne of God" and his mercy 
seemed to have forsaken the American cause, but 
" justice and judgment were still the habitation 
of that throne." The "invisible hand" was moving 
in the transition tane regions among the pioneers 
of American civilization and the}' were soon to 
descend as a destroying angel on the invading hosts. 

*John.son's Greene, vol. i, p. 305. 


1 780. On the 6tli of September Major William 
R. Davie was appointed by Governor Nash colonel 
commandant of cavalry, and directed to raise a regi- 
ment; but lie succeeded in raising only part of it, 
and with two small companies of riflemen under 
Major George Davidson, he took post at Providence. 
With fearless resolution he attacked a party of the 
enemy at \Vahab's plantation, killed fifteen or 
twenty and wounded forty, and came off with 
ninety-six horses and one hundred and twenty-six 
stands of arms a precious acquisition at that junc- 
ture, when patriots were more numerous than rifles. 

On the advance of the British, Generals Sunnier 
and Davidson retreated by Phifer's, the nearest 
route to Salisbury, ordering Colonel Davie, with 
150 men and some volunteers under Major Joseph 
Graham, to watch and annoy the foe. Obeying 
these orders Colonel Davie entered the town of 
Charlotte on the night of the 2Oth day of September. 
At the same time the British were lying within a 
few miles of the town.* 

General Graham relates that at this time the 
people met to talk over the situation, and "several 
aged and respectable citizens insinuated that further 
resistance would under such circumstances be 
temerity, and only produce more certain destruction 
to themselves and families, which by some other 
course might be averted. But this was indignantly 
repelled by a great majority and especially by those 
who had been in action at Hanging Rock. Several 

-Wheeler's History, p. 195, from Life of Davie. 

of them Stated that they had seen the British 
soldiers run like sheep, and many of them bite the 
dust; *that they were by no means invincible; that 
under suitable commanders and proper arrange- 
ments they would at any time risk a conflict with 
them man to man; that their cause was just and 
they confided thac Providence would ultimately 
give them success, notwithstanding the present 
unfavorable appearances. As to endeavoring to 
obtain terms of the enemy, that was out of the ques- 
tion. That their sister State, South Carolina, had 
tried the experiment and found that no faith was 
to be placed in British promises, justice, generosity, 
or honor. Several of them declared that while there 
was any part of the North American continent to 
which the British authority did not extend the}' 
would endeavor to occupy that. This was one of 
the times which emphatically 'tried men's souls' 
rather than, when the enemy was at a distance, 
sitting in deliberative bodies and passing abstract 
resolves, to which it is generally applied."* 

The general result of the meeting was to make 
resistance to the last extremity, which accorded 
with the spirit and judgment of Major Graham. 

This accomplished writer, as well as soldier, has 
given us a most minute account of the daring 
defence of the handful of men under him and 
Colonel Davie. As this account has reached com- 
paratively few through the pages of the University 
Magazine, I am persuaded it will prove most inter- 

*General Graham in University Magazine, vol. 5, p. 53. 


esting to the general reader, and therefore I cop} 7 it 
entire. The young " hornets " of the old nest will 
appreciate it, I know. 

1780. " Before sunrise on the 26th day of September, 
Graham's party discovered the front of ^the enemy 
advancing, and two of his men, who had been sent down 
their left flank, reported that the whole army was in 
motion; that they had seen their artillery, baggage, &c., 
coming on. They were immediately sent to give Col- 
onel Davie notice, and Graham's troops receded slowly 
before them. After going a short distance the party- 
were covered from the view of the British by a swell in 
the ground. They halted and fired on their front as they 
approached, which the enemy returned briskly, and 
began to deploy. Graham's party moved on, expecting 
the British cavalry to pursue, but could see none. (It 
turned out that they were gone with Tarleton after 
General Sumter.) 

"Within two miles of Charlotte, where the road from 
the ferry comes in, Tarleton joined them. In five 
minutes after he arrived, being indisposed after his night's 
inarch, Major Hanger, took command of the cavalry, and 
coming in front, compelled Graham to keep at a more 
respectful distance. He was pursued by the front troops 
in a brisk canter for a mile; after that they went at a 
common travel until they came in sight of the village, 
when they halted that the rear might close up, and some 
of their officers endeavored to reconnoiter. 

" Colonel Davie had nearly completed his disposition 
for their reception, and during the night and morning 
had the hospital and military stores removed. Charlotte 
stands on an eminence of small elevation above the adja- 


cent ground; two wide streets crossing each omer at 
right angles (Tryon and Trade streets), the court-house 
was in the center, a frame building raised on eight brick 
pillars, ten feet from the ground, which was the most 
elevated in the place. Between the pillars was erected 
a wall of rock three and a half feet high, and the open 
basement answered as a market for the town. Suitable 
gaps were made in the lots and other enclosures on the 
east side of the village for the troops to retire with facil- 
ity, when compelled to do so. The main body was 
drawn up in three lines across the street leading to Salis- 
bury, about fifty yards apart, the front line twenty steps 
from the court-house. Owing to the swell in the ground, 
and the stone wall aforesaid, the whole was nearly 
masked from the view of the advancing foe until he 
came near. One troop was drawn up on each side of 
the court-house in the cross street, at the distance of 
eighty yards from it. That on the left was masked by 
a brick house, that on the right by a log house. Major 
Dickson of Lincoln (since General Joseph Dickson), with 
a party of twenty men, was placed behind McComb's house 
about twenty-nine poles in advance of the court-house 
on the left of the street. Graham's command (just 
arrived before the enemy), with Captain John Brandon's 
troops from Rowan, were placed as a reserve in one line 
at right angles with the street where the jail now stands. 
In about thirty minutes after the enemy made his appear- 
ance, he had condensed his forces from the loose order 
of march, by sections, and increased the front of his 
columns his cavalry arranged in subdivisions, his 
infantry in platoons (except the Legion which followed 
the cavalry). There appeared an interval of about one 
hundred yards between the columns ; the cavalry 


advanced at a slow pace until fired on by Major Dick- 
son's party ; they then came on at a brisk trot until 
within fifty yards of the court-house, when our first line 
moved up to the stone wall and fired, then wheeled out- 
wards and passed down the flanks of the second line, 
which was advancing. The enemy supposing that we were 
retreating, rushed up to the court-house and received a 
full fire on each side from the companies placed on the 
cross street (Trade street) ; upon which they imme- 
diately wheeled and retreated down the street to their 
infantry, halted and fronted. Their infantry passed out 
through the lots on each flank and advanced. Our 
second line, when it reached the court-house, fired at 
the column of cavalry in retreat, but at rather too great 
a distance for much execution. Their cavalry now began 
to move forward again, but the Legion infantry were near 
one hundred yards in advance on each flank. When 
they came in view in rear of the lots, they opened a cross- 
fire on each flank of Davie's men, which, for a short time, 
was handsomely returned from behind the buildings, but 
their numbers and firing increasing as they deployed, 
and the cavalry advancing along the street in a menacing 
attitude, Colonel Davie ordered a retreat. As soon as 
the troops who had been engaged passed the reserve, 
they had to sustain the whole fire of the Legion, which 
kept advancing parallel with the street, about eighty- 
yards from it. The reserve held their position until they 
fired two rounds, and moved off in order through the 
woods on the left of the road. The British cavalry kept 
in thirty poles until Graham's party passed the first 
Muddy Branch, about three-quarters of a mile from the 
court-house, and one hundred yards from the road, where 
they wheeled and fronted (the Muddy Branch being 


between them and the enemy, one hundred yards beyond), 
and gave them one fire. They halted, waiting for their 
infantry, which in a short time came running down their 
flank and began to fire. Graham ordered his men to 
disperse, as the woods were thick and they all knew the 
country. At the distance of two or three miles the most 
of them collected, where the road crosses Kennedy's 
Creek (where Frew's, farm now is), and as the woqds 
were here thick and deemed suitable to rally in, the men 
were drawn up fronting the ford, and two men sent over 
to see whether the horse or foot were marching in front, 
it being decided that if the former, the troops should fire 
from their saddles. The men sent over had not gone 
one hundred yards from their party before they discov- 
ered the front of the cavalry at a small distance, and 
came back and gave information. The party sat on 
horseback waiting the approach, when the first thing 
that presented itself to their view, in the euge of the 
bottom beyond the creek, at the distance of linety steps, 
was the front of a full platoon of infantry on each side 
of the road, on whom they instantly fired and retreated. 
The enemy fired nearly at the same time, and their balls 
passing directly through the woods where our line was 
formed, and skinning saplings and making bark and 
twigs fly, produced more of a panic in the militia than 
any disaster which occurred on that day. All the firing 
in Charlotte and beyond had generally passed over their 
heads, but here it appeared to be horizontal. The 
parties commanded by Brandon and Graham passed on 
in disorder by Sugar Creek Church until they ascended 
the hill near the cross-roads, where they formed and 
fronted. The enemy's infantry, which came before, 
and at a distance of two hundred and fifty yards halted 


and took to trees and fences, and commenced an irregu- 
lar fire for near a half hour at long shot. Many of our 
men dismounted and fired in the same manner, but 
owing to the distance and shelter of each, it is believed 
no damage was done on either side. Colonel Davie, 
with his main force, heard the firing distinctly, and 
knowing the enemy were coming on, sent an officer to 
apprise General Davidson, who drew up his men near 
the ford on Mallard's Creek, where the woods and deep 
ravines would protect him from the cavalry. Colonel 
Davie himself formed a mile and a half in his front, at 
a place called Sassafras Fields; from thence to the cross- 
roads, near three miles, was an open ridge and large 
timber (at that time scarcely an undergrowth being upon 
it) which was quite favorable to the action of cavalry. 
During the time the enemy had halted and kept up a 
desultory fire, he was making his arrangements near a 
small creek in his rear, by placing his best horses in 
front and sending about one hundred cavalry thraugh 
the woods to his right, in order that they might come 
into and up the cross-road, so as to surround the party 
in front. Their conduct indicated some such movement 
would be attempted, and the reserve and others who 
joined them moved on. When they passed the cross- 
roads, that part of the enemy which debouched were dis- 
covered coming up the road on their right within thirty 
poles distance, and Major Hanger, with the remainder, 
the same distance in their rear, the whole about three 
hundred and fifty in number. When the two parties 
joined at the cross-roads, they came on at a brisk trot, 
and from that to a canter, as fast as they could preserve 
order, until they discovered the party before them was, 
by their pursuit, pressed out of order. Then they 


charged at full speed. When the pursuit became close, 
near one-half took to the woods on each side of the road. 
The front troop of the enemy (commanded by Captain 
Stewart) pursued them, but the main body, commanded 
by Major Hanger, kept the road until they came in view 
of the place where Colonel Davie had formed at Sassa- 
fras Fields. Being much out of order by the pursuit, they 
collected their scattered troopers and returned to their 
Legion infantry, and one other battalion, about eight 
hundred men in all, which accompanied the cavalry as 
far as the cross-roads, and remained there drawn up in 
position until their return. The main body had halted 
in Charlotte, whither, the whole repaired about sunset. 
"On this day we lost Lieutenant George Locke (son of 
General Matthew Locke) who was literally cut to pieces 
in a most barbarous manner. The barrel of his rifle with 
which he endeavored to shelter himself from their sabres 
was cut in many places. He and two privates were 
killed, and Colonel Lindsay, of Georgia, who served as a 
volunteer without any command, and Adjutant Graham* 
and ten others were wounded. The loss of the enemy 
could not be ascertained, but was believ.ed to exceed 
ours. Afterwards two of their dead were found, near 
where Locke was killed and Graham wounded, one of 
whom was known to have been shot by Robert Ramsay 
of Rowan at the time they charged. But they must 
have sustained the greatest damage in Charlotte. The 
enemy seemed to understand this Parthian kind of 
wartare, and maneuvered with great skill the cavalry 
and infantry supporting each other alternately as the 
nature of the ground or opposition seemed to require. 

*Joseph Graham received 'nine wounds, three with ball and six with 
sabre, and was left on the ground. 


They taught us a lesson of the kind, which in several 
instances was practiced against them before the end of 
the war. During the whole day they committed noth- 
ing to hazard, except when the cavalry first charged up 
to the court-house, and received a heavy fire in front and 
both flanks at the same time, which compelled them to 
retreat before their infantry were thrown forward on their 
flanks. Had we omitted fighting on this day, kept our 
men and horses fresh (except a few to reconnoiter and 
give intelligence of the enemy's movements) and been in 
readiness to strike the foraging parties which 'his new 
position would have compelled him to send out, and thus 
endeavored to take him by detail, it would have been 
better policy than, with three or four hundred mounted 
militia men, of whom not one-fourth were equipped as 
cavalry, attacking a regular army, completely organized, 
of ten times their number, in an open field, when every 
person was sure we would be beaten. The small damage 
sustained in proportion to the risk appeared providential. 
"Several of the British officers stated afterwards, if 
Colonel Tarleton had commanded their van instead of 
Major Hanger it would have been worse for us. General 
Davidson retired in the night to Phifer's plantation, 
twenty miles from Charlotte, and Colonel Davie behind 
Rocky River, sixteen miles from Charlotte, and four 
miles in front of Davidson. " 

This chivalrous defence of their homes and fire- 
sides by the men of Mecklenburg and Lincoln and 
Rowan, reckless as it may seem in the light of 
future events, is to be commended for the noble 
and patriotic impulses which prompted it. The 
lesson of experience in Parthian warfare which the 



Afterward General ofMhtia,Histbrian,'Manufacturer8cc. 

British taught them that day more than compen- 
sated for the loss they suffered in learning the 

It also taught the militia that the British troops 
were not so dreadful in attack or destructive in the 
charge as they may have anticipated. It was well 
that they were led by so experienced and intrepid 
a soldier as Major "Joseph Graham, whose heroic 
courage was so conspicuous in the fight. His 
soldiers were deprived of his example for two 
months while tender hands dressed his wounds and 
tender hearts sympathized with his suffering. 

"He fell with nine sabre wounds and three from 
lead. His life was narrowly and mercifully pre- 
served by a large stock-buckle which broke the 
violence of a stroke which, to human view, must 
have proved fatal. He received four deep gashes 
of the sabre over his head and one on his side, and 
three balls were afterwards removed from his body. 
After being much exhausted by loss of blood he 
reached the house of Mrs. Susannah Alexander, 
where he was kindly nursed and watched during 
the night."* 

It was these wounds which prevented Major 
Graham from sharing in the glory of King's Moun- 
tain a month afterward. He was only twenty-one 
years old when he received this baptism of blood ; 
but he lived to avenge it all and to see his country 
independent among the nations of the earth. 

*Wheeler's History, vol. 2, p. 234. 


Tarleton says "the King's troops did not come 
out of this skirmish unhurt. Major Hanger, who 
was in command of the Legion" (Tarleton being 
sick of a violent fever) "and Captains Campbell and 
McDonald were wounded and twelve non-commis- 
sioned officers and men killed and wounded." 

Tarleton was evidently not impressed very favor- 
ably with what he discovered in this new region 
into which, for the first time, the King's army had 
penetrated, and his disparagement of the people is 
so honorable to their manhood and patriotism that 
I cannot forbear to give a few extracts from his 
narrative. He petulantly says: 

"The town and environs abounded with inveterate 
enemies ; the roads were narrow and crossed in every 
direction and the woods were close and thick. It was 
evident, as had been frequently mentioned to the King's 
officers, that the counties of Mecklenburg and Rowan 
were more Jwstilc to England than any others in America. 
No British commander could obtain any information in 
that position which would facilitate his designs or guide 
his future conduct. The foraging parties were every day 
harassed by the inhabitants, who did not remain at home 
to receive payment for the produce of their farms, but 
generally fired from covert places to annoy the British 
detachments. Notwithstanding the different checks and. 
losses sustained by the militia of the district, they con- 
tinued their hostilities with unwearied perseverance, and 
the British troops were so effectually blockaded in their 
present position that very few out of a great number of 
messengers could reach Charlottetown in the beginning 
of October to give intelligence of Ferguson's situation." 

Tarleton had discovered a wonderful difference in 
the temper and disposition of the people of the two 
Carolinas. The leading men of North Carolina did 
not hasten to express their penitence for rebellion, 
but met the foe with arms in their hands and when 
their regulars were captured, they organized the 
militia for defence; when these were scattered by 
British troopers the inhabitants fired upon them, 
singly and in squads, from the coverts, and scorned 
the British gold that was offered for the produce of 
their plantations. Our enemies being onr judges, 
the men of North Carolina "were more hostile to 
England than any others in America." These 
splenetic utterances of disappointment and rage 
have become the pride and boast of those who pro- 
voked them. They can well respond in the old 
Hebrew idiom, ".Thou sayest it." 

The "amiable Cornwallis" seems to have become 
as impatient and irascible as his lieutenant, and in 
his cooler moments even, when writing to Colonel 
Balfour, of the British army, he could not find 
decent language sufficiently strong to express his 
indignation and descended to profane epithet to 
relieve his chafed spirit. 

11 Charlotte is an agreeable village," says his 
lordship, "but in a d d rebellious country." 

The British army which entered Charlotte the 
26th September, 1780, consisted of three brigades 
besides the Legion infantry and cavalry and some 
Tories who accompanied them. The brigade on the 
right, commanded bv Colonel \Yebster, encamped 


on the southeast of the court-house, forty poles 
from it. ' The brigade of lord Rawdon encamped 
across the street leading to' Salisbury, thirty poles 
from the conrt-house; O'Hara's brigade on the 
southwest of the court-house; the cavalry, infantry 
and Tories encamped across the street by which 
they came (South Tryon).* 

Cornwallis immediately took possession of Colonel 
Thomas Folk's mill, where he found 28,000 pounds 
of flour and a quantity of wheat, and killed, on an 
average, 100 cattle per day. The army could only 
be supported by Webster moving one day aud 
Rawdon the next as covering parties to protect the 
foragers. f 

The vicinity was aptly characterized by lord 
Cornwallis as a " Hornet's Nest," and this appella- 
tion clings to it until this day as the highest enco- 
mium which British malignity could unwillingly 
bestow upon the county. 

We can imagine with what suspense and anxiety 
the British commander was harassed during his 
short stay, with his sources of information cut off, 
his messengers intercepted and an enemy concealed 
along every pathway. Here we shall leave him to 
contemplate the difficult task of conquering North 
Carolina, while we follow Ferguson to his fate at 
King's Mountain. 

We have seen that when Cornwallis advanced 
towards Charlotte that orders were issued to Lieu- 

""General Joseph Graham. 

tenant Colonel Patrick Ferguson to advance towards 
Ninety-Six,* in what is now Abbeville County, South 
Carolina, on the upper waters of the Saluda River 
and about sixty or seventy miles directly south of 
King's Mountain. The purpose of this expedition 
was to blend the loyalists into military organiza- 
tions, overawe the Whigs, and to exercise such 
civil power as might be necessary to place that 
region of South Carolina completely under the 
British yoke. He was jocularly said to have had 
power plenary enough to justify him in celebrating 
the marriage ceremony. Ferguson was an intrepid 
soldier and had the entire confidence of his com- 
mander. His career had been bold, dangerous and 

He was the second son of James Ferguson, lord 
Pitfour, an eminent advocate and for twelve years 
a Scotch judge. When only fifteen years of age 
a commission was purchased for him, and on the 
1 2th day of July, 1759, he entered the British army 
as cornet. He had a varied fortune on the Continent 
in many battles and when the war of the revolution 
began he found his way to America as a captain. 
He had heard much of the superiority of the 
Americans in the use of the rifle, and this inspired 
his genius to the invention of a weapon which 
would counteract the effect of this arm. Ferguson 
invented a new species of rifle which could be loaded 
at the breech, without a ramrod, and could be fired 
seven times in a minute. 

"Took its name from beinj^ 96 miles from Keowee, principal towii 
of the Cherokees. 

( i i 8 ) 

He was at that time the best rifle shot of the 
British arm}-, and in adroitness in loading and firing 
is said to have excelled the best American frontiers- 
man or even the expert Indian of the forest. He 
was also famous as a pistol shot. While riding he 
would check his horse, draw a pistol from his 
holster, toss it aloft, catch'it as it fell, aim, and shoot 
)ff a bird's head on an adjacent fence. * 

In 1777 Sir Henry Clinton placed him at the 
head of a corps of riflemen picked from the different 
regiments, and he participated in the battle of 
Brandywine. Here he was made to experience the 
accuracy of American aim and the excellence of the 
American rifle. A rifle-ball shattered his right 
arm and disabled it for life; but Ferguson, with 
undaunted resolution, practiced sword exercise with 
his left until he was a formidable and skilled 
antagonist with that weapon. 

It was at this battle, he relates, that General 
Washington came in the range of his rifle, but he 
scorned to shoot so illustrious a man in the back or 
allow his men to do so. There is doubt, however, 
as to the identity of the person and many reasons 
to believe that it was Pulaski and not' Washington. 
It is, however, creditable to Ferguson as a soldier 
that he spared either of them from assassination. 

In 1779, when Sir Henry Clinton fitted out his 
expedition to Charleston for the subjugation of the 
Southern provinces, Ferguson was assigned to 
command a corps of three hundred men and was 

*Draper's Heroes of King's Mountain, pp. 50-51. 

allowed to choose both his men and officers. He 
was given the rank of lieutenant colonel com- 
mandant. Early in March, 1780, Ferguson and 
Major Cochrane, with Tarleton's Legion infantry, 
were sent in pursuit of some American force and 
the Americans having been ad vised.of their approach 
abandoned their camp, which Ferguson occupied. 

Cochrane subsequently arriving in the vicinity, 
and supposing the persons in the camp to be 
Americans, charged them furiously, and a dreadful 
conflict took place in the night between these Bng- 
lish detachments, until at last Cochrane recognized 
Ferguson's voice and stopped the carnage. Fergu- 
son defended himself gallantly, wielding his sword 
in his left hand against three assailants until one 
of them thrust his bayonet through Ferguson's left 
arm. It was at this moment that Cochrane recog- 
nized Ferguson's voice and rescued him. 

Ferguson was also at the surprise and defeat of 
Huger at Monk's Corner. Three of Tarleton's 
dragoons committed violence on some ladies near the 
village and were apprehended in the diabolical act. 
"Ferguson was for putting them to instant death, 
but Tarleton rescued them." Tarleton it was who 
afterwards had the "effrontery to boast that he had 
killed more men and ravished more women than 
any man in America."* 

Ferguson is described as of "middle stature, 
slender make and possessing a serious countenance, 

*Draper, p. 67. 

I 2 O 

yet it was his peculiar characteristic to gain the 
affections of the men under his command." 

Irving says "Ferguson xvas a fit associate for 
Tarleton in hardy, scrambling partisan enterprise; 
equally intrepid and determined, but cooler and 
more open to impulses of humanity." 

This was the man wlw was to lead the left wing 
of the army of Cornwallis into North Carolina and 
humiliate the " over-mountain men" and reduce 
them to subjection and obedience. 

Mr. Lvinan C. Draper spent twenty years of an 
industrious and energetic life in writing his splen- 
did work "King's Mountain and its Heroes"- a 
book perfect in all its parts, evincing a research 
unsurpassed by any American writer, and so jnst 
to North Carolina and her soldiers in the King's 
Mountain campaign that I hope I will be pardoned 
for drawing almost entirely upon it for the facts 
connected with that battle. Mr. Draper has ex- 
hausted the sources of information on this portion 
of history, and nothing can be added to it, and, as 
far as my examination goes, nothing can be taken 
from it, without marring the truth. 

The meagreness of the account by l^arleton and 
Steadman is astonishing. It seems to have been a 
historical bog to them, out of which they floundered 
with all haste and energy ; but to the American 
student it is the first ebbing of the long-tide of mis- 
fortune which had swept over the States of Georgia 
and South Carolina and submerged them in its 
billows. It was the first ray of hope that gleamed 


through the darkness and desolation of that period 
of conquest and wretchedness which followed the 
advance of a victorious invader. 

It was the pivot upon which the steady line of 
defeat and disaster first deviated from its course and 
swung from the American arms. 

It was the appalling defeat which brought terror 
to the heart of Cornwallis and drove him sick and 
faint from the confines of North Carolina and -forced 
him to plunge through the mud of the Waxhaws 
to the rear line of his defences at Winnsboro. 

Mr. Draper has therefore wisely selected this 
battle as one of the central events of the war for 
independence, and while many who were conver- 
sant with the circumstances attending it were still 
living, has gathered the rich stores of information 
and woven them into the most charming narrative 
of American history. 

The camp of Ferguson was on Little River, 
which is the northern prong of the Saluda. He 
had come to this place with "from one hundred 
and fifty to two hundred of the Provincial corps," 
and was here joined by "the desperate, the idle, the 
vindictive, who sought plunder or revenge, as well 
as the youthful loyalists whose zeal or ambition 
prompted them to take up- arms ; all found a warm 
reception at the British camp, and their progress 
through the country was marked with blood and 
dghted with conflagration."* 

*Draper, p. 72. 

The young men of this multifarious collection 
were thoroughly drilled and disciplined by Fergu- 
son in military tactics, and transformed into a body 
of formidable soldiers. 

It was here that David Fanning, the Tory leader 
of Orange and Chatham counties, in North Caro- 
lina, visited Ferguson and obtained commissions for 
his followers who were expected to organize when 
Cornwallis took possession of the State; but this 
dream was never realized. It was Fanning, too, 
who forced Andrew Pickens to take British protec- 
tion. It was this that so embittered General Pickens 
and gave impetus to his subsequent military career. 

In order to train his little army and embody the 
Tories, Ferguson continued to move about the 
country and send detachments in every direction. 
He marched into Union district on the Tyger River 
and .thence northward, through Spartanburg dis- 
trict, South Carolina, to the "Quaker Meadows," 
in Burke County, North Carolina, the home of 
Colonel Charles McDowell. The Tories plundered 
the citizens as they went, of cattle, horses, beds, 
wearing apparel, even wresting rings from the 
fingers of ladies, until they were heartily despised 
by the British officers as well as their countrymen 
who were contending for liberty. 

1780. In July Colonel Elijah Clarke, the noted 
partisan leader of Georgia, formerly a X^irginian, 
and well known to all the Whigs in upper South 
Carolina and western North Carolina, attempted 
to pass through from the Savannah River to join 


Colonel Charles McDowell, but was so pressed that 
most of his followers retraced their steps and dis- 
persed for a while. Colonel John Jones, of Burke 
County, however, proposed to lead those who would 
follow to North Carolina. Jones was chosen the 
leader of this little band and John Freeman as 
second in command. Passing through a Tory 
settlement they assumed the disguise of loyalists 
and hearing of a Tory gathering near by, they 
attacked and captured them and with them a lot of 
good arms and stout horses. Ne^t day at Barle's 
Ford on the Pacolet, in what is now Polk County, 
they formed a junction with Colonel Charles 

About twenty miles south of McDowell's camp 
was Princes' Fort, on the north bank of the Tyger 
River, occupied by a British and Tory force under 
Colonel Innes. Unapprised of Colonel McDowell's 
approach Colonel Innes sent out Colonel Ambrose 
Mills, a Tory leader of Rutherford County, N. C., 
in pursuit of Jones. Mills surprised McDowell's 
camp, supposing the troops of Jones were alone 
there, and killed and wounded about thirty of them. 
Among the latter was Jones, who received eight cuts 
from the sabre. Young Noah Hampton, a son of 
Colonel Andrew Hampton, was roused from his 
slumbers and asked his name. He responded 
u Hampton." This was enough for the "Mills" 
part}'. They thrust him through with a bayonet 
while he was begging for mercy and Colonel Mills 


paid the penalty for this ac: under a limb at Gil- 
3ert town.* 

Colonel McDowell was censured by Hampton 
for not placing videttes further from his camp, 
across the river. 

Before sunrise the next morning Captain Edward 
Hampton, with fifty-two a'ctive men, including Free- 
man, began the pursuit of Colonel Mills, and over- 
taking him routed his party, killing eight at the 
first fire, and continued the pursuit to the very 
entrance of Fort Prince. 

At 2 o'clock Hampton returned with thirty-five 
good horses and much baggage, without the loss of 
a man. Noah Hampton was avenged. It was 
more than "an eye for an eye."f 

I have related in previous pages the campaign of 
Colonels Charles McDowell, Shelby, Clarke and 
Williams and the affair at Musgrove's Mill, which 
it is not necessary to repeat. 

1780. On the 29th August Lord Cornwallis 
writes Sir Henry Clinton, " Ferguson is to move 
into Try on Count)'' (since Lincoln) with some 
militia whom he says he can depend upon for doing 
their duty and fighting well ; but I am sorry to say 
that his own experience, as well as that of every 
other officer, is against him." As McDowell, 

*Mills was also accused of hanging Adam Cusack on the Pee Dee. 
Gordon, vol. 4, p. 29. 

fCaptain Edward Hampton was a brother of Colonel Wade Hamp- 
ton of Sumter's command. He was killed by Colonel Cunningham's 
" Blood}- Scouts " in October, on Fair Forest Creek. 


Shelby, Clarke and Williams had now retired to 
the back parts of North Carolina and many across 
the mountains to their homes in Sullivan and 
Washington counties, Ferguson followed in that 
direction, and for awhile encamped at Gilberttown, 
three miles north of the present village of Ruther- 
fordton. Here he issued his proclamation calling 
on the citizens to renew their allegiance and join 
the King's army. Some were overawed by this 
bold display of royal power in their very midst, and 
hearing of the rout and flight of the only Conti- 
nental army then in the South, they were induced 
to take protection ; and a few from premeditation, 
and by advice of the Whig leaders, took the oath 
in order that they might save the cattle and prop- 
erty of that region, as much as possible, for the use 
of the Whig forces and their families.* 

*NoTE. While in this mountain region Ferguson found he had a 
case of small-pox developing itself. It was one of his officers, who 
was left at a deserted house, taking his favorite charger with him, 
and there this poor fellow died in this lonely situation. It is said his 
horse lingered there till he died. It was long before any one would 
venture to this pest-house. 

" There lay the rider, distorted and pale, 
With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail." 

Finally some one ventured there and carried off the sword, holsters 
and pistols, selling them to John Ramsour of Lincoln, who gave them 
thirty years after to Michael Reinhardt. Draper's King's Moun- 
tain, p. 147. 

This sword was given by W. M. Reinhardt, son of Michael Rein- 
hardt, to Dr. D. R. Schenck, by whom it was presented to the Guilford 
Battle-Ground Company in 1887, and it now hangs, at that battle- 
ground, among the Revolutionary relics collected by that company. 


But Ferguson was not allowed to ravage the 
country with impunity. He inarched, with a 
detachment, in search of Colonel Charles McDowell. 
He found him, but not where he expected or wished 
to find him. McDowell laid an ambuscade for him 
at Bedford Hill, three miles southwest of Brindle- 
town, near a crossing of Cane Creek, called Cowan's 
Ford. While the British were crossing the Whigs 
fired upon them, severely wounding Major Dunlap, 
one of the favorite and most energetic officers of 
Ferguson's corps, in the leg, and killing others. 
Ferguson was forced to retire to Gilberttown to 
escape with his own life. 

McDowell being unable to resist the large British 
force now in North Carolina, retreated across the 
Blue Ridge to the " Watauga Settlements," as the 
region where Shelby and Sevier lived was then 
called. He related to Sevier and Shelby the deso- 
lation which marked the advance of Ferguson, and 
urged them to join the mountain men on the other 
side and resist his approach. 

1780. Colonel Shelby, with the approbation of 
Major Robertson, then proposed that an army of 
volunteers be raised on both sides of the mountain, 
in sufficient numbers to cope with Ferguson. :i: All 
the officers and some of the privates were consulted 
and all cordially coincided with the proposition. It 
was agreed that the over-mountain men should 
recruit and strengthen their numbers, while Colo- 
nel Charles McDowell should send a messenger to 

*Draper, p. 118. 

( 127) 

Colonels Cleveland and Herndon of Wilkes County, 
and Major Joseph Winston of Surry County, North 
Carolina, urging them to raise a volunteer corps 
and share in this patriotic enterprise. McDowell 
was moreover requested to convey intelligence con- 
stantly to the "over-mountain" men of Ferguson's 
movements, and to preserve, as much as possible, 
the beeves of the. .Whigs in the upper Catawba, 
which would be needed by them. 

Colonel Clarke took the mountain trails and 
returned to Georgia. Colonel Williams, who had 
a few years before resided in Orange County, North 
Carolina, conducted the Musgrove prisoners to 
Hillsboro, in that county.* 

Ferguson continued his headquarters at Gilbert- 
town. Major Dunlap, who was perhaps the most 
hardened of all the Tory leaders, and whom Mc- 
Dowell's men had severely crippled at Cane Creek, 
was on crutches at the house of William Gilbert, a 
loyalist. He had followed the fortunes of Fergu- 
son in his northern campaigns, and Johnson, in his 
life of Greene, says, u Dunlap had rendered him- 
self infamous by his barbarities." Numerous 
instances of his oppression and cruelty at Gilbert- 
town are related by Draper, and he thus describes 
an attempt on Dunlap's life: 

" ;; "Very many of the facts related by Draper are derived from a 
manuscript prepared by Captain David Vance, the grandfather of 
Senator Z. B. Vance, of North Carolina, which was preserved by 
Robert Henry, of Buncombe County. Both were American soldiers 
at King's Mountain. 


11 When Ferguson suddenly left Gilberttown on the 
approach of the over-mountain men, Dunlap was left 
behind. The avenger of blood was nigh. Two or three 
men from Spartanbnrg rode to the door of the Gilbert 
house, when the leader, Captain Gillespie, asked Mrs. 
Gilbert if Major Dunlap was not up stairs. She frankly 
replied that he was, supposing that the party were loy- 
alists, and had some important communication for him. 
They soon disabused her of their character and mission, 
for they declared that he had been instrumental in put- 
ting some of their friends to death, and moreover had 
abducted the beautiful Mary McRea, the affianced of 
Captain Gillespie, as she would not encourage his amo- 
rous advances, and kept her in confinement, trusting that 
she would in time yield to his wishes ; but death came 
to her relief; she died of a broken heart. They had 
now come for revenge, Gillespie particularly uttering his 
imprecations on the head of the cruel destroyer of all 
his earthly hopes. So saying they mounted the stairs, 
when Gillespie abruptly approached Dunlap as he lay in 
bed, with the inquiry: 'Where is Mary McRea?' 'In 
heaven !' was the reply. Whereupon the injured Cap- 
tain shot Dunlap throiigh the body, and quickly mount- 
ing their horses, Gillespie and his associates bounded 
away to their homes." 

Gilberttown was to witness other tragedies in 
the near future, when the Whig leaders sat in 
judgment upon the murderers of McDowell's men. 
It was " a dark and bloody ground" where Whig and 
Tory alternately meted out vengeance to their cap- 
tured foes. 

( 129) 

Singular to relate, Dunlap did not die of this 
wound, but was concealed by his friends and turned 
up at Ninety-Six the ensuing March, where he went 
out. with a foraging party of seventy-six dragoons. 
He was overtaken by Colonel Clarke and Major 
McCall at Beattie's Mill, in which he took refuge. 
He resisted until thirty-four of his men were killed 
and wounded, himself among the latter. The party 
then surrendered. "The British account of this 
aifair stated that Dunlap was murdered by the 
guard having him in charge after the surrender ; 
but such was not the fact," adds McCall, " for he died 
of his wounds the ensuing night." It is, however, 
justly surmised that he fell a victim to a just 
revenge and met a timely end. 

We shall now endeavor to trace the events trans- 
piring in the transmontane counties of Sullivan 
and Washington, North Carolina, and the regions 
of Rutherford, Burke, Wilkes, Surry and Tryon, 
from whence came the heroes and the men who 
were soon to make for themselves an immortal fame ; 
also to look to Virginia, from which the "Camp- 
bells were coming" to the rescue of their neighbors 
and -friends, and not forget the Spartan band from 
South Carolina, who joined the others to share in 
the* glory of King's Mountain. 

1780. The "over-mountain men" were so called 
from their location on the west of the Alleghany 
Mountains. North Carolina, at that time, extended 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Vir- 
ginia line on the north to a line south in latitude 

35 34"> extending from ocean to ocean, and took 
in all of that territory now embraced in the State 
of Tennessee. 

Sullivan County was bounded by the Virginia 
line on the north, and just south of it was Wash- 
ington County, both in North Carolina. North of the 
Virginia line and joining Sullivan Comity, North 
Carolina, was Washington County, Virginia. Sul- 
livan and Washington counties, North Carolina, 
had been settled by Virginians who gradiially 
made their way south along the slopes of the moun- 
tain, following the beautiful streams of the Holston, 
Watauga and Nollichucky and settling on their 
fertile valleys. Just south and southwest of these 
frontier settlements were the Cherokee Indians, 
extending in their domains to the Mississippi River. 
These Indians were at this time hostile to the 
whites, having been stirred up against them by 
British emissaries who had been sent among the 
tribe for that purpose. The}'- had promised to 
invade the frontiers in the Fall, and to penetrate, if 
possible, as high .up in southwest Virginia as the 
Chiswell Lead Mines, from which the Americans 
drew their supply of lead, and destroy the works 
and stores at that place. 

Colonel John Sevier was the commander of the 
militia of Washington County, North Carolina, and 
resided on the Nollichucky River, from which cir- 
cumstance he was familiarly known as "Nolli- 
chucky Jack." 

Colonel Isaac Shelby was the commander of the 

militia of Sullivan County, North Carolina, and 
Colonel William Campbell was in command of the 
militia of Washington County, Virginia, though 
his cousin and brother-in-law, Colonel Arthur 
Campbell, seems to have been his superior in rank 
in the county. 

Colonel Benjamin Cleveland was the Colonel of 
the militia of Wilkes County, North Carolina, on 
the eastern slope of the Alleghanies, bordering on 
Washington County, Virginia, and Major Winston 
was from the adjoining county of Surry on the east. 

Colonel Hambright and Major Chronicle were 
from Tryon County, North Carolina, and as we 
have seen before, Colonel Charles McDowell, and 
his brother, Major Joseph McDowell, were from 
Burke County, North Carolina, south of Wilkes, 
and Colonel Andrew Hampton was from Ruther- 
ford County. All these counties were contiguous. 

1780. When Ferguson took post at Gilbert- 
town in the early part of September, smarting under 
the .remembrance of Musgrove's Mill, he paroled 
Samuel Phillips, who had been left at the mill 
wounded, and sent him with the verbal message to 
the " over-mountain men" that if they did not 
desist from their opposition to the British arms he 
would inarch his men over the mountains, hang 
their leaders and lay their country waste with fire 
and sword. It was a threat that Ferguson would 
have carried into effect if power and opportunity 
had been at his command. Phillips resided near 
Colonel Shelby's home in Sullivan County and 

( 132) 

soon communicated to him the message of Fergu- 
son and the information he had in regard to Fer- 
guson's command. 

A few days after this message was received 
Colonel Shelby rode forty miles to a spot near the 
present site of Jonesboro, Tennessee, where he met 
Colonel Sevier and told him of the return of Phil- 
lips, and the information imparted to him. 

These frontier men always acted 'upon the idea 
that it was much safer for their homes and their 
wives and children to meet a foe on his approach, 
and defeat him on his own territory, rather than 
allow him to make the seat of war in their own 
county ; and these two men agreed at once that they 
would call together their own forces and endeavor, 
if possible, to procure assistance from Colonel Wil- 
liam Campbell, to repel this threatened invasion. 
There was no time to lose ; their safety was in the 
celerity of their movements and the boldness of 
their attack. It was agreed that the clans were to 
gather at the Sycamore Flats, on the Watauga 
River, below the present village of Elizabeth town, 
Tennessee, on -the 2 5th day of September. Colonel 
Shelby immediately wrote to Colonel William 
Campbell, apprising him of the situation, and 
urged him to join the expedition with all the men 
he could raise. Captain Moses Shelby, a brother 
of the Colonel^ was the messenger. Campbell did 
not at first approve the plan, and declined, to go. 
Colonel Shelby then wrote a still more urgent 
letter, entreating him to come to the rescue of 

themselves and the Burke men, who were there as 
exiles among them and ready to join the expedi- 
tion. Campbell was touched with this appeal to 
his generosity and gave his consent to the expe- 
dition. At a consultation of the field officers of his 
county it was arranged that half the militia should 
remain to repel the expected Indian invasion and 
the other half should join Shelby and Sevier. 

At the same time Colonel Campbell sent an 
express to Colonel Cleveland, of Wilkes County, 
North Carolina, apprising him also of the situation 
and requesting him to meet them on the eastern 
side of the mountain with the militia of his county. 

The time of assembling indicated was the 3Oth 
of September, the place was the " Quaker Meadows," 
in Burke County, North Carolina, the home of the 
McDowells, two miles north of Morganton. 

Sevier found great difficulty in raising the neces- 
sary funds to properly equip his men, as his own 
means, which he freely offered, were small, and in 
this pressing emergency he applied to John Adair, 
the agent of North Carolina for the sale of lands in 
that county, for aid. Adair replied : "I have no 
authority to loan the money, but if the country is 
overrun by the British our liberty is gone. Let 
the money go too. Take it." Thus about twelve 
thousand dollars of a campaign fund was raised 
and ammunition and equipments were procured. 
Both Sevier and Shelby pledged themselves person- 
ally to return the loan or to have the act of the 
agent legalized by the Legislature of the State. 


The appointment of the over-mountain men was 
kept. On the 25th day of September Colonel 
Campbell appeared at the Sycamore Flats with two 
hundred men and Colonels Sevier and Shelby with 
two hundred and forty men each. There Colonels 
McDowell and Hampton's part}- had been in camp 
for some time. The whole force at that place aggre- 
gated about eight hundred and fifty men. They 
were mostly mounted men and armed with the 
deadly Deckard rifle which I have described in pre- 
vious pages. 

They were expert in its use alike against the 
Indians and the wild beasts of the forest. Their 
muscles were strong and steady, their aim unerring. 
They feared no foe while the Deckard was in their 
grasp. It had been their defence against the savage 
foe; with it they had combatted the bear and the 
panther successfully ; it had brought the deer and 
turkey for their subsistence; the loyalists had 
quailed before it at Musgrove's Mill and they felt 
confident that Britith valor and discipline would 
succumb before its deadly missile. Bayonets they 
had none, but the trees of the forest were a breast- 
work for refuge ;' they had no tents, but the -deep 
blue sky of the mountains, bestudded with stars, was 
a canopy more splendid than oriental imagination 
could conceive. They had neither baggage wagons 
nor quartermaster's stores, nor commissary to pro- 
vide them food. The noble horse which each man 
owned, and loved with an Arab's fondness, carried 
the wallet and the blanket : the one contained a 

supply of parched meal, and they trusted Providence 
to increase the store as necessity required ; the other 
was the only covering from the winter's chill. 
Their dress was the hunting shirt made from 
woolen cloths manufactured by their wives and 
daughters, and the fur skin cap, taken from the 
animals of the forest, covered their heads. At their 
side in the belt was the tomahawk and the knife. 
With the little ax a brush arbor niight be con- 
structed and the knife was the camp tool for every 
purpose. A tin cup completed the outfit. The 
horses were to be subsisted on the grass which was 
at that time in luxuriant abundance all over the 
mountains and far off into the plains. 

We can imagine these sturdy sons of the wilder- 
ness shouting welcome to every gathering band as 
it approached the camp and running to greet them 
hand in hand; how quickly and anxiously they 
inquired the news from Ferguson, and pressed 
around the camp-fires of McDowell to listen to the 
story of his exile and hear his plans for expelling 
the foe from their homes. 

The exclamations of defiance and the voice of 
indignation were heard from every lip. The hand 
impulsively grasped the rifle, the eye flashed, rest- 
lessness and impatience characterized every action. 

The glance of the men met the gaze of the leaders 
and unison was felt though only a smile or a nod 
was given. Their hearts were locked, as the shields 
of old, and nothing but death was to separate their 


When nearly read} 7 to begin the march the 
sound of approaching voices was heard once more. 
The camp was astir ; unexpected visitors \vere dis- 
covered in the distance ; nearer they came and recog- 
nition was announced by a wild shout of joy, and 
Colonel Arthur Campbell led two hundred men 
more into' the camp. One thousand and fifty voices 
now made the welkin ring with their glad acclaim. 
Colonel Campbell fearing that there might not be 
men enough to secure certain victory, determined, 
after Colonel William Campbell had left, to rein- 
force his strength. This being now done, he bade 
his men '.'Godspeed" and a hearty "good-bye" and 
returned to his home again. 

As soon as Colonels McDowell and Shelby and 
Sevier had finally determined to attack Ferguson, 
Colonel McDowell hastened across the mountain to 
encourage the people, to obtain information and 
hasten the march of Cleveland and Winston to the 
place of rendezvous at the "Quaker Meadows." 

Early on the 26th of September the little army 
was ready to begin its march and only one prepara- 
tion for the journey w r as yet to be made. God's 
blessing must be invoked and His omnipotent pro- 
tection supplicated. The Rev. Samuel Doak, the 
pioneer missionary of the Watauga settlements, was 
present. These stern, hardy, stalwart men, "true 
lightwood at heart," bowed their heads in reverence 
while the good man recounted to God the dangers 
with which they were threatened from the maraud- 
ing hosts of the British in their front and the 

"barbarous savage, little less wicked, in their rear, 
and repeating the promises of mercy with which 
the word of God abounded, he earnestly plead for 
protection and safety, in this time of need, and for 
guidance and victory to those who were marching 
to defend their homes and their families. As he 
proceeded his voice faltered but his faith grew 
stronger. He remembered the Midiaiiites and the 
children of Israel hid in the holes of the mountains 
and the greatness of God's deliverance, and pausing 
fora moment, he exclaimed, "The sword of the 
Lord and of Gideon !" Tears stole down the furrows 
of the rough-skinned men of the forest but their 
faith was strengthened. The preparation was over, 
the march was begun. 

The prayer was recorded in heaven. The answer 
came through the fire and smoke of battle on King's 
Mountain. Its voice was heard above the rattle of 
British muskets and the rifle's shrill crack on the 
ascending heights. The blasphemous boast of Fer- 
guson, that he was on the " King's Mountain" and 
that God Almighty could not drive' him from it, 
had been rebuked and his lifeless form lay prostrate 
on his chosen spot. 

The march continued through the solitary wil- 
derness along the mountain trails. That evening 
they reached the " resting-place,"* after a twenty 
miles inarch. 

The next day they were delayed in slaughtering 
some beeves for the journey, and went only four 

*In Cherokee, "Aquone." 

miles, to the base of the Roan and Yellow Moun- 

The 28th September they ascended these moun- 
tains, following " Bright's trace." As they climbed 
higher the snow was shoe-mouth deep. On top 
they found a hundred acres of beautiful table-land; 
here was a bold spring and they struck camp.* 
When the troops paraded they fired off their rifles, 
and it is related that the air was so rarified there 
was little or no report. 

While on this "bald" of the mountain the devil 
entered into James Crawford and Samuel Chambers 
and they deserted and made their way to Ferguson, 
hoping to save their lives by their treachery. It 
was therefore resolved to take a different trail from 
the one at first chosen, so as to baffle any spy Fer- 
guson might send to intercept and watch their 

" Descending Roaring Creek eastwardly, they 
came to the North Toe River, running south, and 
a mile below passed Bright's place, now Avery's, 
thence down North Toe southwardly to a noted 
spring on the Davenport place (now the Childs' 
place), and rested at noonday." v After a hard day's 
march they reached Cathey's, at the mouth of 
Grassy Creek,f and rested for the night. Here 
they ate their parched corn meal and the rem- 
nant of beef in their wallets. 

On Friday, the 29th, the route lay up Grassy 

*Most probably the Avery Spring at Cloudland Hotel, on the Roan. 
fNear by what is now known as Spruce Pine P. O. 

Creek to its head, and over Gillespie's Gap, on the 
Blue Ridge. Here they divided, Campbell follow- 
ing a trail six miles south to Wofford's Fort, the 
others to Hunnycut's Creek. At this latter place 
Colonel Charles McDowell rejoined the forces and 
imparted such information as he had acquired. He 
had sent James Blair to hasten Cleveland's march. 
Blair met Colonel -Cleveland on the way, at Fort 
Defiance, but on his route Blair was waylaid by a 
stealthy Tory and wounded from an ambuscade. 

On Saturday morning, the 3Oth September, the 
over-mountain men, passing over Silver and Lin- 
ville Mountains, in an eastwardly course, and down 
Paddie's Creek, reached the " Quaker Meadows," 
the hospitable home of Colonel Charles McDowell, 
and his brother, Major Joseph McDowell. Here 
the "fatted calf" was killed, the corn-cribs and 
smoke-houses thrown open, the camp-fires lighted 
and good cheer prevailed in that lovely valley. It 
was not long until another shout of welcome was 
heard echoing among the mountains and carrying 
glad tidings down the valley of the Catawba. Col- 
onel Cleveland and Major Winston, with three 
hundred and fifty North Carolinians from the 
counties of Wilkes and Surry, were approaching 
the camp. They were kindred spirits from the 
mountains on the eastern slope, and were soon 
mingling joyfully with their comrades in arms. 

Cleveland's regiment had marched up the Yadkin 
to the mouth of Warrior Creek, thence in a south- 
west course to old Fort Defiance, thence to Fort 

( i 4 o ) 

Crider, where the village of Lenoir now stands, 
thence by way of Lovelady Ford on the Catawba, 
and passing the present site of Morganton to Qua- 
ker Meadows.* As they crossed Lovelady Ford, a 
stealthy Tory was lying in wait for Colonel Cleve- 
land, and mistaking his brother Lieutenant Larkin 
Cleveland for him, shot -Larkin through the leg, 
severely wounding him, so that he was left at Mc- 
Dowell's home. Another Tory had wounded Blair, 
the messenger that McDowell had sent to Cleve- 
land. It was an internecine strife among these 
mountain men. This little army was now consti- 
tuted as follows: North Carolinians under Shelby, 
Sevier, McDowell and Cleveland, nine hundred and 
eighty (980) men ; Virginians under Campbell, 
four hundred (400) men, aggregating 1380 hardy 
and determined soldiers. 

The weather had been fair, the air bracing and 
crisp. The men were cheerful and full of spirit ; 
the horses fresh and active. 

Sunday morning, October the ist, 1780, dawned 
brightly upon the Whigs. The work of deliver- 
ance was a work of necessity. The horses were 
saddled and the march resumed. 

Ferguson was almost in their grasp (as they sup- 
posed) at Gilberttown, and with eager footsteps they 
pressed forward for the prey. They passed Brindle- 
town at noonday and camped in a gap of the South 
Mountain near where Colonel McDowell had pun- 

*These routes can easily be traced on Kerr's large map of North 


ished Ferguson so severely when he went in quest 
of the Burke men. That evening it rained for the 
first time since they started. 

Monday the rain descended all day and the army 
remained in camp. They were now in sixteen miles 
of Gilberttown and no commander had been chosen. 
A conference was held and Colonel Charles McDowell 
was selected to visit' General Gates at Hillsboro and 
request him to send them a general officer. 

Shelby proposed that during the absence of a 
general officer Colonel Campbell should command. 
He argued that all the field officers were from North 
Carolina, except Campbell, and it would be gener- 
ous for them to elect him to that high position; 
that this would heal all jealousy and give them a 
trustworthy head, which was indispensable in the 
prompt execution of any plan they might adopt. 

This counsel prevailed and Colonel Campbell 
accepted the honor conferred upon him. Colonel 
Shelby in 1823 explained his object in effecting this 
result by saying that he wished to displace Colonel 
McDowell, who by seniority of commission was 
entitled to the command; that " McDowell was 
brave and patriotic but too far advanced in life and 
too inactive for such an enterprise." This objec- 
tion of age, however, was but a pretext, as Colonel 
McDowell was only thirty-seven years old. The 
truth was that Shelby considered him as lacking 
"in tact and efficiency." It was hoped too that 
McDowell would hasten back with General Morgan,, 
whom the troops preferred above all others. 

Colonel McDowell, than whom no braver man or 
purer patriot lived, looking steadily to the redemp- 
tion of the land from the invaders, and sacrificing 
all personal considerations, submitted without mur- 
muring to the counsel of his brother officers. He 
set off at once on his mission, leaving his men tinder 
the command of his brother, Major Joseph McDowell. 

Colonel Campbell was now the commander-in- 
chief but subject to the council of the officers of this 
little army. 

In order to trace the concentration of another 
clan, who were to become aUies in this campaign, it 
is necessary to leave our friends, who were at Cane 
Creek, for a few days. 

The digression is painful, because it necessitates 
the repetition of unpleasant incidents in the career 
of one who was soon to yield his life as a sacrifice 
on the altar of his country; one who was brave; 
one who, when his neighbors and friends were taking 
British protection around Ninety-Six, scorned to 
save his property by so base an act; one who left 
family, comforts and home to endure the hardships 
of the camp rather than be a slave of a tyrant at 
home. Whatever may have been his infirmities or 
his faults he was true to his principles and yielded 
up his life in the fight to maintain them. No nobler 
death could have befallen him, and we honor the 
man who fills a patriot's grave. 

It will be remembered that Colonel James Wil- 
liams, lately from South Carolina, though for some 
years previous a citizen of Granville County, North 
Carolina, where he was raised from boyhood, was sent 


with the Musgrove Mill prisoners to Hillsboro, North 
Carolina. While there he met Governor Rutlege, 
who was a refugee from his State, and on Colonel Wil- 
liams' representations of his own conduct in the late 
engagement, the Governor, who had been invested 
with dictatorial powers, commissioned him as a 
brigadier general. It is alleged that these repre- 
sentations were nof true ; at any rate this appoint- 
ment excited the jealousy of Colonels L/acey and 
Hill, who were then located with a detachment of 
troops in fork of the Catawba River and the " South 
Fork" of that stream. They were Sumter's com- 
mand, Sumter being at that time wounded and not 
on duty. The piedmont section of South Carolina 
had been entirely overrun and the patriot band, 
under Lacey and Hill, had sought, with thousands 
of others, a refuge in North Carolina, where they 
found welcome and friends. 

General Williams, before returning to duty, 
requested and obtained permission from Governor 
Nash to recruit one hundred men in North Carolina.* 

*NOTE. 'flu- following is tin- original order: 

i < >nymal MS.) 

HILLSBOROUGH, Sep. 8th, 1780. 

SIR : You are desired to ,m> to Caswell County, and to such other counties as you 
think proper, and use your best endeavors to collect any number of volunteer 
horsemen, not exceeding one hundred, and proceed with them into such parts as 
you judge proper, to act against the enemy, and in this you are to use your own 
discretion. You may assure the men who turn out with you that they shall be 
entitled to all the advantages and privileges of militia in actual service, and that 
it shall be considered as a tour of duty under the militia law, they serving the time 
prescribed bylaw for other militia-men. All commissaries and other staff offi- 
cers are required to grant you such supplies as may be necessary. 

In getting your men you are to make no distinction between men already drafted 
and others: and in case of need, you are to impress horses for expresses and 
other cases of absolute necessity. A. NASH. 


" Under this authority he enlisted these men, while 
encamped at Higgins' plantation, in Rowan Count}", 
North Carolina. Colonel Brandon and Major Ham- 
mond of his force were quite active in this service. 
His call for troops was dated the 2 3d of September, 
1780. These new troops constituted the largest 
part of his force, and with this addition he marched 
to the camp of Lacey and Hill, and exhibiting his 
commission as brigadier general, demanded that 
they should put themselves under his command. 
This they refused, w r hether rightfully or wrong- 
fully it is too late to determine now. Hot words 
ensued and Williams separated himself from them. 
It had been the design of Lacey and Hill to join 
General Davidson, who was posted at that time 
between Charlotte and Salisbury, North Carolina, 
and they had sent a messenger to him with this 
proposition. The messenger returned with the 
tidings which Davidson had received through Col. 
Charles McDowell, that a considerable body of men 
from the mountains were approaching Ferguson 
with a view of attacking him. That day Colonel 
William Graham and Lieutenant Colonel Frederick 
Hambright of Tryon County joined Lacey and 
Hill with sixty or more men. These with the one 
hundred men under Williams aggregated one hun- 
dred and sixty more North Carolinians who were 
soon to join the " over-mountain men." 

Lacey and Hill now thought best to attempt a 
reconciliation with General Williams, which was 
finally accomplished by an agreement that they 


should elect a commanding officer. Information 
was now received through spies that Campbell's 
army was in the South Mountains of Burke County 
and advancing. The combined . forces of Lacey r 
Hill, Williams and Graham immediately decamped, 
and crossing the upper forks of Dutchman's Creek 
proceeded to Ramsour's Mill, near where the town 
of Lincolnton, in Lincoln County, is now situated; 
from there they marched west, taking the Flint Hill 
road to "Flint Hill," in Rutherford County, now 
known as " Cherry Mountain," which is eight or 
ten miles east of what is now Rutherfordton in that 
county. Here on the 3d day of October they took 
up quarters and waited for information, and here it 
was that Colonel Charles McDowell called upon 
them on his way to see General Gates at Hillsboro. 

The mountain men were then only sixteen miles 
distant, but as Colonel McDowell could not say 
whether Campbell had moved after his departure 
or not, they preferred to await developments. 

At this time Campbell's men, as we shall briefly 
designate them for the present, were of opinion that 
the decisive struggle was to take place at Gilbert- 
town and they began preparations for the battle. 
The troops were to be informed of the plans of their 
leaders and to be exhorted by them to be ready for 
duty. They were drawn up in a circle and Colonel 
Cleveland was the orator. Rude and uncultivated 
as he was, he had an earnestness and honesty in 
his language and manner that arrested the atten- 
tion of his hearers, who were in the same sphere of 

intelligence as himself and as devoted to liberty 
as he. 

His speech was short and pointed and plain. He 
said : " The enemy is at hand ; we must be up and at 
them. I will be with yon when the pinch comes. 
If any of you shrink from the battle and the glory 
you can now have the opportunity to back out and 
leave, and you may have a few minutes for con- 
sideration." " You who wish to back out will, when 
the word is given, march three steps to the rear 
and stand." 

There was a pause for three minutes and the 
word was given, but not a man of that army moved 
they " stood like a stone wall," with eyes that never 
quailed and nerves that never trembled. 

The troops were then dismissed and in three 
hours the march down Cane Creek began. They 
came .near to Gilberttown on the 4th day of October 
eager for the fray. They met Jonathan Hampton 
who first gave them the news that Ferguson had 
retreated in haste and intended to avoid an action. 

On the 27th day of September Ferguson, in the 
hope of intercepting Colonel Clarke, who had been 
repulsed at Augusta, Georgia, and was retreating 
towards North Carolina, moved south from Gilbert- 
town and halted on Green River, in what is now 
Polk County. 

On the 3Oth day of September the two de- 
serters, Crawford and Chambers, reached Fergu- 
son's camp at James Steps' place, and apprised him 
that the over-mountain men were on his track. 


Ferguson was alarmed. Man} 7 of his Tory allies 
were on furlough, and his ranks were thin. Mes- 
sengers were sent in all directions to drum up the 
men on furlough, and a dispatch to Lord Corn- 
wallis at Charlotte, acquainting him of the danger, 
was intrusted to Abram Collins* and Peter Quinn, 
Tories of that region, who promised to deliver it in 
person. Collins and Quinn took a direct course, 
crossing Second Broad at Webb's. Ford, then by 
way of what is now Mooresboro to First Broad at 
Stices' Shoal, thence by Collins' Mill, on Buffalo. 
Coming to Alexander Henry's, a good Whig, they 
deceived him and were given refreshments, but 
some circumstance aroused Mr. Henry's suspicion 
after they left, and his sons followed to arrest them. 
Collins and Quinn got wind of the pursuit and 
were compelled to secrete themselves by day and 
travel with great caution at night, and by reason 
of these delays they did not reach Charlotte until 
the ;th day of ( )ctober the day of Ferguson's over- 
throw ;it King's Mountain. 

Ferguson now gave out that he was in retreat 
tor Ninety-Six, to delude the Whigs towards that 
route. ( )n the ist of October, the day the Whigs 
left li Quaker Meadows," Ferguson was at Baylis 
Earles', on Pacolet ; thence he turned northwest to 
Denard's Ford, on the Broad River, where he issued 
the following proclamation to the country : 

"GENTLEMEN : Unless you wish to be eat up by an 
inundation of barbarians, who have begun by murder- 

* Abram Collins was a noted counterfeiter after the revolution. 

( i 4 8 ) 

ing an unarmed son before the aged father, and after- 
wards lopped off his arms, and who, by their shocking 
cruelties and irregularities, give the best proof of their 
cowardice and want of discipline ; I say, if you wish to 
be pinioned, robbed and murdered, and see your wives 
and daughters, in four days, abused by the dregs of 
mankind in short, if you wish or deserve to live and 
bear the name of men, grasp your arms in a moment and 
run to camp. The ' Back-water men ' have crossed 
the mountains ; McDowell, Hampton, Shelby and Cleve- 
land are at their head, so that you know what you have 
to depend upon. If you choose to be degraded forever 
and ever by a set of mongrels, say so at once, and let 
you women turn their backs upon you and look out for 

real men to protect them. 


" Major fist Regiment." 

It was the appeal of a desperate man, who appre- 
ciated the danger that was rapidly approaching 
nearer to him. He uttered falsehood and exagger- 
ated the situation that he might arouse a like 
feeling of desperation in the hearts of his Tory 
allies. But to an observant mind it was the cry of 
despair, the acknowledgment of ruin, the wail over 
his sinking fortunes. 

From Denard's Ford* Ferguson moved, on Mon- 
day, the ad October, only four miles and lay on his 
arms all night expecting an attack. t On the 3d 
October he marched east through Rutherford 

*This was half mile below the present T witty 's Ford. 
fCampbell's force was then at Cane Creek, one day's journey south 
from " Quaker Meadows." 

( M 9 ) 

County crossing Second Broad River, which runs 
north and south, at Camp's Ford, then six miles 
further crossing Sandy Run Creek, at Armstrong's, 
where they rested awhile; thence seven miles 
further to Buffalo Creek (according to Draper) and 
camped at Tate's place. * 

At Tate's plantation Ferguson tarried the 4th 
and 5th of October waiting for intelligence from 
the Whigs. While there he sent the following 
dispatch to Cornwallis : 

" MY LORD : I am on my march to you by a road 
leading from Cherokee Ford, north of King's Mountain. 
Three or four hundred good soldiers would finish this 
business. Something must be done soon. This is their 
last push in this quarter. 


Up to this time Ferguson had escaped from his 
pursuers and evidently intended to reach Corn- 
wallis if possible. He was then sixteen miles from 
"King's Mountain," which was to the southwest, 
while Charlotte, where Cornwallis lay, was directly 
east only thirty-five miles distant, and there were 
no forces, except a few militia, to intercept his 
march to that place. It may be, and it is probable, 
that Ferguson's pride outweighed his judgment 
and he determined to risk a battle rather than enter 
Charlotte a fugitive from the men he affected to 

*This was in the southeastern portion of what is now Cleveland 
County, N. C. 

despise ; or it may be that a destiny was shaping 
his ends which he felt but could not resist. The 
King's Mountain stood invitingly out to lure him 
to his fate, and in the vanity of his soul he believed 
himself invincible. 

Whatever may have been the strange reason that 
impelled his conduct, Ferguson abandoned his 
intention to join Cornwallis. He passed to the 
southwest near where Whitnker's Station, on the 
Air-Line Railroad, is now, and on in the direction 
of Yorkville. 

On this road, after crossing the creek, on the 
right hand, and two hundred and fifty yards from 
the pass, he came to "King's Mountain." This 
was on the evening of the 6th of October, 1 780. 
Here he pitched his camp and uttered the impious 
boast that the "Almighty could not drive him 
from it." 

The disappointment of Campbell's men was sore 
when they found the "game had fled," and their 
uncertainty and anxiety was increased when they 
learned that Ferguson had retreated towards Ninety- 
Six, giving out that he was on his way to that fort. 
The Whigs had nothing but rifles and could not 
subdue it. It seemed for a time that Ferguson had 
outwitted them and escaped. 

The matter, however, was considered in the 
council of officers and it was determined to follow 
Ferguson even to Ninety-Six if necessary and strike 
him as best they could. Colonel Clarke had 
advanced further west, making his way to the 

i 5 ' ) 

Watauga settlement, carrying his own and other 
Whig families with him. The news reached him 
of the expedition against Ferguson, and Major Wil- 
liam Chandler and Captain Johnson of his party, 
filed off, with thirty Georgians, and joined Campbell 
at Gilberttown.. A few days thereafter Major 
Chronicle, from the South Fork, in Tryon Count}-, 
also joined him. 

The Whigs did not tarry at Gilberttown. As 
soon as the resolution to follow was formed they 
set out on Ferguson's track following to Denard's 
Ford on the Broad River, where for a time they lost 
his trail. 

I am informed that tradition accounts for this by 
the fact that Ferguson inarched his men down in 
the stream to elude the pursuit of his foes and 
came out below the ford, then bore down the stream, 
instead of following the route southward towards 
Ninety-Six. ::: 

Baffled by this ruse, many of the Whigs became 
discouraged and uneasy ; many of the men were 
footsore from travel, and a portion of the horses 
gave signs of breaking down. They were now 
encamped at A/c.vatidcr's Ford,t on Green River. 

*I learned this from Colonel Frank Coxe, of Polk County, N. C. 

fl find in the "North State" the following anecdote of Elias 
Alexander, which is worth preserving lor its humor and to illustrate 
the feeling that continued after the war was over: 

" Klias Alexander, of Rutherford County, was an did revolutionary \Vhijy, who 
fought at Kind's Mountain, and died years afterward, with twenty-seven Uritish 
and Tory buck-shot in his body, old Major C.reen. of the same county, was a 
Tory, and was also in the battle of Kinsj's Mountain, on I lie Tory side. After the 
war Green was several times elected to the State Senate from Rutherford County, 


A council was called and it was determined to select 
their best men, best rifles and best horses and expe- 
dite the pursuit, leaving those less strong to follow. 

While Ferguson was encamped at Tate's place, 
on Buffalo, " an old gentleman called on him who 
disguised the object of his visit.' On the next 
day, the 5th of October, after traveling twenty 
miles northeast, this old gentleman came to the 
camp of the South Carolina detachment at Flint 
Hill (or Cherry Mountain), and related how he had 
imposed on Ferguson under the disguise of being 
a Tory, and announced that Ferguson had sent to 
Cornwallis for aid, and that Ferguson had said he 
"had selected his ground, and that he defied God 
Almighty and all the rebels out of hell to overcome 

That day, on the authority of Colonel Hill, it is 
stated, that Colonel Williams and Major Brandon 
of his company were missing and returned in the 

mid seemed invincible. In 1823, Alexander determined to have Green beaten and 
broiight out his son as a candidate against him. 

" Green became apprehensive of defeat and concluded that something- must be 
done. He fell up .in the idsa of joining the Baptist Church, and in carrying out the 
project was immersed in the French Broad River. Alexander, somewhat dis- 
couraged at this turn, but nothing daunted, went to witness the ceremony. Lean- 
ing against an old tree on the bank of the river within speaking distance of the 
scene, he silently and doubtingly watched the process of regeneration. 

" Everybody expected some kind of a declaration from him before the crowd dis- 
persed. Just as Green was raised out of the water, wet as a rat; and gasping for 
breath, Alexander, who was very tall, and towered above the bystanders, slowly 
raised his hand and pointed at him, at the same time saying, in a loud and meas- 
ured tone : 

' There stands old Major Green, now neat and clean, 

Though formerly a Tory, 
The damndest rascal that ever was seen 
.V07' on his way to glory.' 

" This furnished a campaign song and worked an overwhelming defeat of Green 
at the polls." 


evening. Their actions aroused suspicion, and on 
being pressed by Hill and Lacey, they admitted 
that they had ridden across, southwest, to Camp- 
bell's camp, and that they were to join him next 
day at the old Iron Works on Lawson's Fork. 

Hill discovering that Williams had misinformed 
Campbell as to the whereabouts of Ferguson, falsely 
stating that Ferguson had marched towards Ninety- 
Six, in order to induce Campbell to inarch to that 
point, where Williams' interest lay, instead of pur- 
suing Ferguson, charged Williams with the fraud 
until he admitted it. That night Colonel Lacey, 
with a guide, made his way to Campbell's camp 
and acquainted him with the true location of the 
British army. For awhile Lacey was thought to 
be a spy, but finally he was enabled to impress 
Campbell with the cruth of his statement, and in 
order to strike Ferguson, it was agreed between 
them to form a junction at Cowpens instead of the 
Iron Works, and to march on Ferguson at once. 

Colonel Lacey returned next day to find the 
whole camp in a ferment of disorder. Williams 
was ordering the men to follow him to the Iron 
Works and on to Ninety-Six, while Hill was 
entreating them to join Campbell. At last the 
contending factions marched each to itself, when it 
was discovered that Williams had but few follow- 
ers. Hill and Lacey calling on their followers, 
began the march for Cowpens. Colonel Williams 
was induced, by a sense of danger, to follow in the 
rear, but the men of the front derided his men 


during the inarch, and even threw stones at them. 
About sunset of the 6th of October, they all reached 
the Cowpens. 

On the 5th of October, on Green River, and 
nearly all the night following, the Whig officers of 
Campbell's command were busy choosing the select 
men, rifles and horses for the fresh pursuit. Seven 
hundred were chosen, leaving six hundred and 
ninety (690) or more in the camp, others of the 
command having fallen by the way from weakness 
or sickness. These numbers are approximately 

Major Herndon, of Cleveland's regiment, was 
left in command of the footmen, with Captain Neal, 
of Campbell's regiment, in special charge of the 
Virginians, who were to follow. They were given 
orders to expedite their march as much as possible, 
and to follow the horse and support them if disaster 
should come. The seven hundred men, on the 6th 
of October, marched twenty miles by way of Sandy 
Plains to Cowpens, where they found Lacey, Hill, 
Williams and Graham. Here they slaughtered the 
fat beeves of Sanders, a wealthy Tory, who herded 
his cattle at the Cowpens, and pulled the fresh corn 
from his fields, and the men and horses ate and 
drank and were refreshed for the chase. 

While here the crippled spy, Joseph Kerr, of 
Williams' command, who had been in Ferguson's 
camp at Peter Quinn's, six miles from King's 
Mountain, returned to communicate the news. It 
was deemed important, however, to obtain later 

tidings, and Major Chronicle suggested Enoch 
Gilmer, of the South Fork, as the man ; for, said 
he, "Gilmer can assume any character that occa- 
sion may require ; he could cry and laugh in the 
same breath, and all who saw it would believe he 
was in earnest ; that he could act the part of a 
lunatic so well that no one could discover him ; 
above all, he was a stranger to fear/' 

Gilmer left, and after traveling a few miles, 
entered the house of a Tory and assumed the dis- 
guise of a loyalist seeking Ferguson's headquar- 
ters, and soon won the Tory's confidence. From 
him he learned all about the movements of Fergu- 
son in that region, and his communication with 
Cornwallis. Gilmer returned and reported. A 
council of war was held, all the officers being 
present except Colonel Williams. Campbell was 
retained as chief in command. The North and 
South Carolina men of Lacey's, Williams'; Hill's and 
Graham's force numbered about four hundred, being 
about equally divided. The whole force amounted 
now to eleven hundred men. 

As North Carolina had a little over two-thirds of 
the men in Campbell's command it is fair to pre- 
sume that she had two-thirds of the seven hundred 
picked men who followed Ferguson, or fo.ur hun- 
dred and sixty-six men, to which add the two hun- 
dred men who joined at Cowpens and we have six 
hundred and sixty-six (666) men out of the eleven 
hundred at King's Mountain who were North 
Carolinians. As the proportion in Campbell's 

force was a little over two-thirds we may safely 
state that seven hundred were North Carolinians, 
and the others, except Clarke's thirty Georgians, 
were about equally divided between Virginia and 
South Carolina two hundred each. 

Here was the army that was to make the first 
turn in the tide of fortune which had been setting 
so steadily against the cause of liberty. North 
Carolina was furnishing nearly, if not entirely, two- 
thirds of that gallant band and she had contributed 
the money, $12000, by means of which the most of 
them were furnished with arms and ammunition. 
The expedition had been conceived by a North 
Carolinian. The maneuvering of the contending 
forces had all been in North Carolina, and that 6th 
day of October each army crossed the boundary 
line, after the fashion of honor, that the duel might 
be fought out of the State. How strange the cir- 
cumstance ! But at that date King's Mountain was 
assumed to be in North Carolina. It was, however, 
true to the laws of retribution that Ferguson and 
his marauders should perish in South Carolina, 
where they had forfeited their lives according to 
all law, human and divine, by the commission of 
every crime that depravity could suggest or inge- 
nuity conceive. 

The march from Cowpens to King's Mountain 
was by night; the rain began to fall and Campbell's 
men lost their way, so that when day dawned on 
the yth of October, the rear of the Virginians was 
only five miles from Cowpens. Delay ensued until 

( 1 5 7 ) 

they were conducted by a guide to the main force. 
The column pushed forward again with spirit, going 
eastwardly. As they approached Cherokee Ford, 
on the main Broad River, Enoch Gilmer, the humor- 
ous spy, was sent forward to reconnoiter. He did 
not return, but as the vanguard came near they 
recognized the voice of Gilmer in the valley singing 
"Barney Linn" a jolly song of the day, and knew 
that the way was clear. Gilmer 's heart was so 
glad that the chase was nearly over and the game 
almost in sight, that he had given vent to his soul 
in a mirthful song.* 

The river was crossed and three miles further 
on they reached Ferguson's former camp. Here 
they halted and partook of a meal of Tory beef 
from the Cowpens and then dashed forward briskly 
through the rain that by this time was falling fast. 
The men sacrificed their own comfort by putting 
their blankets around their rifles to keep the powder 
dry. Gilmer had been sent in advance again. 
Halting at one Beason's, Campbell learned that 
Ferguson* was only nine miles off and in camp. 
This freshened the zeal of pursuit and aroused the 
spirit of the Whigs. Revenge was almost in their 
grasp. As Campbell rode off a girl followed and 
calling to the Colonel she asked, u How many of 
you are there?" " Enough to whip Ferguson if we 
can find him," was the reply. A smile lighted her 

^Draper relates many amusing anecdotes of this jolly and fearless 
Whig spy. He was from that portion of Tryon that is now Gastoii 
County, North Carolina. 

face (she was a Whig,) and pointing- her finger in a 
direct line to King's Mountain, she said: "He is 
on that mountain." Swifter were the footsteps of 
the leaders, closer pressed the followers. 

Three miles further Campbell rode up to the house 
of a Tory, and on entering found Gilmer parta- 
king of the best in the house and hurrahing for King 
George, with two girls and the old woman waiting 
on him. Campbell couldn't resist the temptation 
to have some fun, and ordering a rope to be put 
around Gilmer's neck, had him marched up the 
road to be hung, the girls in the meanwhile weep- 
ing bitterly and begging for his life. Gilmer, after 
getting out of sight, began to laugh heartily and 
said: "Colonel, I found them such loyal friends I 
couldn't help, from pure sympathy, giving both 
the girls a smack." 

Gilmer had derived all the information they 
needed as to Ferguson's exact location and the 
numbers with him, and that he was only a few 
miles ahead. The officers came together again for 
conference, and agreed upon the plan of attack, 
which was to surround the hill and press the enemy 
to the top and destroy him there. The men were 
informed of the plan and assured that there would 
be no danger of shooting each other, for they would 
all shoot upwards, as the hill ascends, and that the 
British shooting downwards would overshoot them.* 

*Colonel Frank Coxe also informs me that an old soldier of the 
battle said the British shot from the hip, and that their aim was 
always too high. 


Colonel William Graham was met here by a 
messenger to inform him that his wife was at the 
point of death, and with Campbell's advice and 
consent, he left to attend her bedside. The old 
hero, however, heard the guns before he was well 
away, and forgetting all else, returned to the battle 
and reached the mountain at its close. As Colonel 
Hambright was an elderly man, Campbell put 
Chronicle, the major, in command of the Lincoln 
County men. The whole-souled old Dutchman 
took no offence, and when Chronicle fell he led his 
men with spirit and courage, even refusing to leave 
the field after a musket-ball had penetrated his 

In two miles of Ferguson's camp the Whigs cap- 
tured a young man named John Ponder, and Ham- 
bright knew him as a Tory and had him searched. 
On his person was a dispatch from Ferguson to 
Cornwallis, telling him the situation and imploring 
help. Ponder, on being questioned in regard to 
Ferguson, said he was in full uniform, but wore a 
checked shirt over it. The jolly old colonel laughed, 
and in his broken English exclaimed: " Poys, hear 
dot! Shoot for the man mid the pig shirt." 

In one mile of Ferguson's camp they met Henry 
Watkins, a Whig prisoner whom Ferguson had 
just released, and he was enabled to give them 
exact and accurate information. Hitherto the men 
had not been required to ride in order, but now they 
were drawn up in two lines, two men deep, Colonel 
Campbell leading the right and Colonel Cleveland 

( i 6 o ) 

the left. Then, as General Graham in his narra- 
tive says, " they moved up a branch and ravine, 
between two rocky knobs, beyond which the enemy's 
camp was in full view, one hundred poles (550 
yards) in front of them." They had purposely 
approached the enemy by this route to cut off 
his retreat, if it should have been attempted. 

" In the rear of the trees and bushes on the east 
side of King's Creek, a little above where the 
Quarry Road passes the stream, the Whigs 
arrived at 3 o'clock in the evening." The orders 
were given " to dismount and tie horses ; tie up 
blankets and coats to the saddle," and a few men 
were detailed (who didn't stay detailed) to take care 
of the horses. Finally, " Fresh prime your guns ; 
go in resolved to fight till you die or \vin." : The 
rain had ceased about noon that day, the sky was 
clear and a cool stiff breeze was blowing. The 
soldiers were comparatively dry and in readiness 
for the onset. 

It seems, from the narrative of General Lenoir 
of North Carolina, that when in a mile of the camp 
of Ferguson, Major Winston, of Surry County, had 
been detached, with orders to make his way south 
of the Quarry Road and reach Ferguson's right, 
which movement, though very difficult, was accom- 
plished successfully. 

Ferguson was on King's Mountain in his lair 
like a wild beast that had been brought to bay. 

"-Draper, from whom this account is, in a great measure, con- 

( i 6 i ) 

He showed no signs of fear. His little army was 
drawn up along the crest of the mountain from one 
end to the other. It was composed of one hundred 
Rangers, as they were called, who had been selected 
for their soldierly qualities from the King's Ameri- 
can Rangers, the New Jersey volunteers and the 
Queen's Rangers. They were picked men who 
had undergone the severest discipline and were 
equal to any body of regulars in the English army. 
To these were added one thousand loyalists who 
hid been recruited in South Carolina and North 
Carolina, principally from the region of Ninety-Six. 
These latter were called Provincials and had been 
well drilled. As far as their personal characters 
would permit 'they had been made efficient soldiers. 
This estimate of Ferguson's force is that given by 

The armies were therefore about equal in num- 
bers, with the advantage to Ferguson of having 
chosen his ground for defence and having his troops 
well rested and fed. Neither had artillery or cavalry. 
It was a contest of the bayonet and musket on the 
one hand and the Deckard rifle on the other. 

The men who fought were in contrast. The British 
force fought for the honor of their king or with the 
varied motives that actuated the American Tory 
disappointed ambition, fear of punishment, or the 
opportunity for plunder. No noble sentiment was 
found in their hearts and they felt the disgrace of 
taking up arms in behalf of oppression and wrong. 

*Tarleton's Campaigns, p. 156. 


A very few may have been conscientious in their 


The Whigs fought for freedom ; they fought to 
prevent the plundering horde from invading their 
peaceful and plentiful homes; they fought for 
religious liberty and for independence as a nation. 
They had no discipline nor drill, but every man 
knew that his duty was to stand by his comrade to 
the death ; they had no bayonets, but they knew 
how to fight from tree to tree and to rally from 
every retreat. They knew that defeat meant, ruin 
and capture meant torture. 

With these sentiments and hopes to impel them 
and these discordant masses in front of them, w r e 
do not wonder that victory perched on the banner 
of the Whigs. No mercenary can stand before a 
man who is moved by the conviction of duty. 

"Thrice armed is he who hath his quarrel just." 

Ferguson viewed their approach with firmness 
and courage, but not with indifference or confidence. 
His last dispatch, by John Ponder to Cornwallis, 
indicated his apprehension of defeat. He was a 
Scotchman from the bonny hills and he knew that 
the gathering of the mountain clans foreboded evil 
to those who roused them to the battle. He knew 
that such men as had dogged him through the 
mountains and through the streams, through wet 
and cold, and were now deploying beneath his last 
bivouac, were men whom no danger could appall 
and no threat could intimidate. 

What a sight to contemplate in this lonely 
mountain wilderness ! No pyramids to look down 
upon them and challenge their claim to courage or 
incite them to glory ; no forty centuries of battle 
scenes to provoke their emulation. It was untraine " 
men, in the wilderness of a virgin region, who had 
come to contend for the land and the country on 
which they stood. 

No' maiden hand bore the wreath to crown the 
victor; no applauding thousands waited to honor 
the survivor of the carnage; no titles of nobility 
nor badges of knighthood were in the expectancy 
of the men who struggled for freedom. It was the 
conflict of men who came to contend for principle 
and who sought no reward but the "glorious privi- 
lege of being independent;" who courted no 
applause, and were content with the approval of a 
good conscience; who knew nothing of romance or 
fiction and lived only to love the women and the 
children they had left behind them. 

It was fit that the God of battles should be the 
only spectator and that His omnipotent hand should 
crown whom He willed with the wreath of victory. 

The spur of the mountain which Ferguson had 
chosen for the conflict runs from southwest ascend- 
ing to the northeast. Its summit is about five hun- 
dred yards long and from seventy to eighty yards 
in width. A branch of Clarke's Fork sweeps around 
the northern declivity ; at the northeastern extremity 
of the eminence the descent is precipitous ; on either 
side were deep hollows parallel to the course of the 
mountain. The Whigs were drawn up near the 

(i6 4 ) 

southwestern extremity where the declivity is com- 
paratively gentle. The army was divided into two 
corps. Campbell was to command the corps 
approaching from the south side of the mountain 
and Cleveland that from the north. 

Winston had already made a detour in order to 
approach from near the northeastern extremity and 
Campbell now led his men in the following order: 
McDowell in advance, whose right joined Winston's 
left; Sevier, whose right joined McDowell's left ; the 
right of the Virginians joined Sevier's left, so that 
the column from southwest to northeast stood 
Campbell first, then Sevier, then McDowell, then 

On the north side of the mountain Colonel Ham- 
bright marched around the northeastern declivity, 
and his left joined Winston's right, Cleveland's 
left reste'd on Hambright's right, then Lacey on 
Cleveland's right, then Williams on Lacey's right, 
and lastly, Colonel Shelby at the southwestern 

Campbell was to swing to the north with the 
left of his column and Shelby to the south with 
his right wing, so that their united columns should 
stretch across the mountain at its southwestern 
base. When all were in column at their respective 
positions, it formed a complete cordon around the 
mountain, and the coil was to be drawn closer and 
closer to the centre. If Ferguson pushed back one 
side, the other was to press his rear. The plan 
was admirable, and if executed was a sure success. 

The diagram which we present illustrates the posi- 
tions as above described.* 

The Whigs marched in double column to their 
respective places, headed by the officers in command 
of each regiment. 

Shelby and Campbell's men began the attack. 
As soon as the approach of the Americans was dis- 
covered, the drum beat to arms in the British camp, 
and the shrill whistle of Ferguson was distinctly 
heard,f notifying his men to take their respective 
places for the battle. "Orders had been given 
that when Shelby and Campbell were ready to 
begin the attack, they were to give the signal 
by raising a regular Indian war-whoop ;" when 
this signal was given, the other columns were to 
press forward simultaneously. The enemy opened 
fire on Shelby first, and it was with difficulty that 
he restrained his men from returning it until the 
proper time. "Press on to your places," he cried, 
" and your fire will not be lost." Very soon Camp- 
bell's stentorian voice was heard, as they wheeled 
by the left into line, shouting, " Here they are, boys ; 
shout like hell and fight like devils!" The Indian 
war-whoop reverberated through the valleys and 
hills and the battle was begun. DePeyster hearing 
the yell, recognized it as the same he had first 
heard on the i8th of August, and remarked to 

*The map was made by General Joseph Graham from an actual 
survey made by him. 

fFerguson used a shrill whistle which he carried with him as cav- 
alry use a bugle. 

( i 6 6 ) 

Ferguson, ''These are those same yelling devils 
that were at Musgrove's Mill." Campbell pressing 
forward, was delayed in his march ten minutes by 
a swampy marsh in his front. Shelby going a short 
distance ahead received the first bayonet charge 
and was driven down the hill, but quickly reloading 
they gave the British a galling fire that drove them 
up the hill again. The trees, which retarded the 
charge of the Rangers, afforded a rampart for the 
riflemen, and from this cover they poured in the 
balls, each going with the marksman aim to its 
deathly work. The crest of the mountain was 
almost bare, and the British, unprotected when in 
column, were a splendid target for the mountaineers. 
Harry Lee said of King's Mountain that " it was 
more assailable by the rifle than defensible with 
the bayonet." 

The battle now raged with fury from every side 
of the mountain as the coil drew nearer, and Fer- 
guson, dashing from one side to another to rally 
his men or lead a charge, was typical of Satan 
when he cried, "Which way I fly is hell !" 

The rattle of musketry, the keen crack of the 
rifle, the yells and whoops of the assailants, the 
commands of the officers, the groans of the dying, 
all mingled with one discordant noise around this 
little mountain, making a pandemonium in which 
devils might have disported themselves with joy. 
Many heroic deeds of daring were done, hand-to- 
hand conflicts were occurring on every side, splen- 
did shots were being made, soldiers were leaping 

(i6 7 ) 

.from lock to rock for shelter, the trees were being 
peeled by the bullets intended for the man behind 
them, the wounded were scrambling away for safety 
and the dead lay prostrate at every step ; but amidst 
the infernal din- the coil drew nearer still. As the 
British bayonets drove the men down one side, the 
Whigs from the other side shouted, "They retreat ! 
they retreat!" and rushing to the British rear they 
poured in the bullets like hail on their backs. 

At every repetition of this charge and counter- 
charge the ranks of the Rangers grew thinner and 
thinner. The Provincials, with butcher knives 
fitted to their guns as a substitute for bayonets, 
came to their assistance, but soon they too began 
to reel and stagger in the storm. The retirement 
before the bayonet created 110 panic, it was under- 
stood to be the order of the day, and then followed 
the fresh crack of the rifle and the advance again. 

The Whigs kept out of the way of the bayonet 
and were comparatively unharmed, but there was 
no British foot swift enough to outstrip the bullets 
of the old Deckard, and every renewal of the charge 
came with weakened force. 

Major Chronicle had led the South Fork boys up 
to the ascent on the northeast end, and turning to 
his men gave the command, " Face to the hill." It 
was his last speech. A ball struck him and he fell 
to rise no more. 

The men, undaunted, pressed 011 under their 
brave old Colonel Hambright, with Joseph Dickson, 
Captains Mattocks, Johnson, White, Espey and 


Martin at the head of their squads of men, each 
with a rifle in hand and doing the duty of a private 
in the fray. DePeyster was commanded to charge 
them, and firing a volley which killed Mattocks, the 
British pushed them back with the bayonet. 

The old Colonel received a ball through his thigh 
which filled his boot leg with blood. His men 
begged him to retire. " No, poys, I vill stay as long 
as I can sit up," was the brave response of Ham- 

The coil was getting tight around the crest of the 
"hill and at times Whig and Tory were going for 
the same tree or rock. The countersign of the 
Whigs was "Buford," a reminder of the massacre 
at the Waxhaws, and when this "shibboleth" was 
not given on demand, up went the rifle to the 
shoulder and the quickest was the survivor. The 
cloud of smoke was too thick to discern the white 
paper in the hat of the Whig or the bunch of pine 
in that of the Tory. 

Relatives and acquaintances often recognized 
each other as the quarters grew closer. A Tory 
named Branson being severely wounded, seeing his 
Whig brother-in-law, Captain James Withrow, of 
Hampton's command, near by, solicited his help. 
"Look to your friends for help," was the reply. 

Captain William Lenoir's company of Cleveland's 
command was left behind at Green River, but the 
Captain refused to remain and went forward as a 
private. He received two wounds, one in the side, 
another in the arm. 

( i 6 9 ) 

Colonel Sevier's North Carolinians were the first 
to reach the summit of the hill and hold their posi- 
tion ; sheltered by the rocks around, they poured 
destruction into the British flank. Captain Robert 
Sevier, a brother of the Colonel, was mortally 
wounded as he was ascending the mountain. 

Colonel Williams, who felt the mortification of 
neglect, fought with reckless desperation, pressing 
on into the thickest of the fight. He received a 
mortal wound and was borne unconscious to the 
rear. Water being sprinkled on his face he revived, 
and while gasping for breath he looked at the men 
around and said, "For God's sake, boys, don't give 
up the hill." 

Shelby was now in conjunction with Campbell's 
column, getting nearer the summit. He constantly 
admonished his men "never to shoot till you see 
your enemy and never see him without bringing 
him down." Winston and McDowell were in close 
rifle shot and Cleveland had led his men up the 
steep acclivity in the rear of Ferguson's line. 
Colonel Lacey's horse had been shot but he was 
advancing on foot and driving the enemy before 

The British were enveloped and the fire was so 
hot from every quarter and their ranks so thin, 
they were unable to compel the troops to renew the 

"The combat deepened." 

The Provincials were now giving way on the 
southwestern side of the crest, pressed by Camp- 

(1 70) 

bell, Sevier and Shelby, and taken in the flank by 
McDowell and Winston, and in the rear by Cleve- 
land. Two white flags were raised in token of 
surrender, which Ferguson cut down with his sword. 
An officer remonstrated and begged that the carnage 
might cease, but Ferguson swore he " would never 
surrender to such banditti." Captain DePeyster, 
his second in command, seeing his men huddled 
on the crest and being shot down on every side, 
urged him to surrender. At length, being satisfied 
that all was lost, u Ferguson, with a few chosen 
friends, made a desperate attempt to break through 
the Whig lines on the southeastern side of the 
mountain and escape." As he went he cut and 
slashed with his sword, using his left hand, until 
the sword was broken. 

To pass a file of mountain riflemen and live was 
more than man could do. Gilleland, one of Sevicr's 
men, recognixed Ferguson and "drew a bead" 
upon him, but his rifle missed fire. Calling to 
Robert Young, one of his comrades, u There goes 
Ferguson shoot l>im," Young, drawing his rifle 
affectionately to his shoulder, replied, "I'll see 
what Sweet-lips can do." There was a flash, a 
sharp lingering crack, and Ferguson tumbled from 
his saddle. u Sweet-lips " had been true to her 
reputation. Others, too, had marked the "pig 
shirt" and revenged Hambright's wound by put- 
ting six or eight more bullets through that same 
u pig shirt." Ferguson fell near Sevier's column ; 

(17 I) 

he was unconscious when he fell, and lived but a 
few minutes. The prayer of Parson Doak had been 
answered. Two Tory officers, Colonel Vezey Hus- 
bands and Major Daniel Plummer, who were with 
Ferguson, turned to flee, but both were shot dead. 

Seeing their leader fall, the enemy began to 
break, and took refuge behind their wagons, where, 
for a short while, they renewed the combat, but 
being fired on from the rear by Cleveland, who had 
gotten close to them, they retreated into a sunken 
place or hollow. Few of the Rangers now survived 
and they were in terror. All order and organiza- 
tion was lost, and these wretched beings stood like 
a herd of deer in a corral, and were slaughtered in 
their tracks. "Buford!" "Buford!" "Tarletou's 
Quarters!" "Tarleton's Quarters!" rang with fear- 
ful tones in the ears of these perishing beings. 
The day of justice and judgment, awful in its 
reality, had come to them. Young Sevier, son of 
the Colonel, had heard of his uncle's death, and 
would not be -restrained. "Standing erect, with 
deliberate aim he would bring down a Tory," to 
avenge the blood of the Seviers. 

In vain were white handkerchiefs raised. Those 
who raised them became targets for the infuriated 
Whigs, and their holders fell beneath the signal. 
One man on horseback rode out with a white flag, 
but fell as he came in view ; a second shared the 
same fate. The Wilkes men were lying in wait 
to shoot everything that made an attractive target. 
u Larkin Cleveland-must be avenged before we cease 


firing !" " Chronicle and Hambright and Williams 
must have blood for blood !" Such was the maddened 
sense of these enraged men who had come for vic- 
tory and vengeance. They determined that the 
work should be effectually done. The Rutherford 
men reminded each other of the cowardly assassi- 
nation of their leader's son on Pacolet ; they listened 
a moment and shot again. One more victim to the 
unbending law of retribution. Thus from lip to 
lip went tales of wrong, and from rifle to rifle came 
the voice of vengeance. The scene is too sad to 
contemplate the curtain must fall. Major Evan 
Shelby shouted to the victims, "Throw down your 
arms !" It was instantly done, and rushing forward 
he implored his followers to shoot no more. The 
firing had almost ceased, but a? stragglers, or those 
who were too weak to be in front, gained the crest, 
they emptied their rifles once more. Campbell, 
riding to the front, exclaimed : " For God's sake, 
quit! it is murder to shoot any more." DePeyster, 
a brave soldier, rode up to Campbell and said, " It 
is unfair." There was no time for argument. 
Campbell, addressing the enemy, ordered DePeyster 
to dismount, and called out : " Officers, go to your- 
selves; prisoners, take off your hats and sit down." 
The Whigs were then " drawn up and around them 
in a continuous circle, then double guards, and 
finally four deep." The game was bagged and the 
hunters stood around gazing at their victims. Now 
and then an old marauder or bushwhacker was 
recognized and his sin proclaimed. According 


to the enormity of their cruelties each wretch was 
endeavoring to hide behind his neighbor. A fear- 
ful reckoning was at hand. The arms were removed 
from the prisoners and strongly guarded that they 
might not be resumed in the confusion. 

As Ferguson fell, his small silver whistle dropped 
from his pocket and was picked up by a Tory 
named Elias Powell, who lived in Caldwell County. 
It was preserved until Powell died in 1832, when 
his children took it west where it was lost. 

Ferguson's sword was given either to Cleveland 
or Sevier, most probably the latter. 

Such was the curiosity to see the dead body of 
Ferguson that many wounded soldiers had their 
friends to convey them to the spot that they might 
gaze upon it. 

Ferguson was buried near where he fell. "No 
martial cloak" was around him ; he was enclosed 
in a beef's hide and buried in a hole. It is dis- 
creditable, perhaps, to chronicle such a fact, but it 
seems to be well authenticated. 

The envenomed hatred of Ferguson by the Whigs, 
whom he had so cruelly wronged, became a mono- 
mania and its cravings for revenge were insatiable. 

Ferguson had two mistresses with him : the one, 
a red-haired woman, "Virginia Sal," was killed; 
the other, "Virginia Paul," survived and was 
indifferent to his fate. Tradition says that the 
former was buried in the same grave with Ferguson. 

The engagement had lasted only fifty minutes 
when Ferguson fell, and that may be considered the 
end of the fight. 

(174 ) 

Not one of the enemy who were on the hill when 
the fight began escaped; there was a party of two 
hundred foragers out who left that morning and 
did not return. 

From the many reports of the British loss I think 
that made by Colonel Shelby in a letter to his 
father, five days after the battle, is perhaps nearest 
to the actual facts. He says the loss of Ferguson's 
corps the Rangers was 30 killed, 28 wounded 
and 57 prisoners. That the loss of the Tories was 
127 killed, 125 wounded and 649 prisoners ; or both 
classed together, 157 killed, 153 wounded and 706 
prisoners total 1016. The official report of the 
Whig commanders, it was admitted, was exagger- 
ated somewhat for effect. Of the Tories, three 
hundred were North Carolinians under Colonel 
Ambrose Mills.* The others were from South 
Carolina, mostly from the region of Ninety-Six, 
where Ferguson had his headquarters. The Ameri- 
can loss w r as 28 killed and 62 wounded. The 
great disparity in the respective losses was attribu- 
table to the fine marksmanship of the mountain 
men, and that the British were huddled together 
when the close firing occurred. 

The command of Chronicle, from Try on County, 
suffered very much more than any of the others. 
Chronicle was killed, Colonel Hambright severely 
wounded, Captain Mattocks, William Rabb, John 
Boyd and Arthur Patterson killed, Moses Henry 
mortally wounded ; Captain Espey, Robert Henry, 

*He was hung at Biggerstaff's. 

William Gilmer, John Chittim and William Brad- 
ley wounded. Four others of Captain Martin's 
company, names unknown, were wounded.* 

Ferguson's personal effects were distritnited as 
follows: Captain Joseph McDowell, of Pleasant 
Garden, first cousin of Major Joseph McDowell, 
who was in command of Colonel Charles McDow- 
ell's regiment, secured six pieces of his china dinner 
plates and a small coffee cup and saucer. These 
are still retained among his descendants. Colonel 
Shelby obtained the larger silver whistle ; Colonel 
Sevier was allotted the silken sash and Ferguson's 
commission as lieutenant colonel, and DePeyster's 
sword ; Colonel Campbell took his correspondence ; 
the white charger, from which Ferguson was shot, 
was, by common consent, awarded to Colonel Cleve- 
land, who had lost his horse in the battle and was 
too unwieldly to travel on foot.f 

So much space has been devoted to this impor- 
tant battle that I cannot pursue the subject any 
more in detail. The heroes who fought it returned 
to their homes, feeling that they had been saved 
from calamities which only such a band of free- 
booters as the Tories could inflict. A few of these 

*Major Chronicle was a young man of good family and more than 
ordinary intelligence. He was engaged to be married to a Miss 
Alexander of Mecklenburg County, and when killed was wearing a 
gold ring which she had presented to him. The ring is now in the 
family of her descendants of Charlotte, N. C., as I am informed. 
Miss Alexander subsequently married Judge/ l,owrie of North Car- 

fDraper, pp. 307- '8. 


Tories were hung for their crimes at Biggerstaff's, 
in Rutherford County, among them Colonel Mills. 
The other prisoners were sent to Virginia.* 

u The victory at King's Mountain, which, in the spirit 
of the American soldiers, was like the rising at Concord, 
in its effect like the success at Bennington, changed the 
aspects of the war. The loyalists no longer dared to 
rise. It fired the patriots of the two Carolinas with fresh 
zeal. It encouraged the fragments of the defeated and 
scattered American army to seek each other and organ- 
ize themselves anew. It quickened the Legislature of 
North Carolina to earnest efforts. It encouraged Vir- 
ginia to devote her resources to the country south of 
her border. The appearance on the frontiers of a numer- 
ous enemy from settlements beyond the mountains, 
whose very names had been unknown to the British, 
took Cornwallis by surprise, and their success was fatal to 
his intended expedition. He had hoped to step with ease 
from one Carolina to the other, and from those to the 
conquest of Virginia, and he had now no other choice 
but to retreat. 

"That memorable victory, Jefferson declared, was the 
joyful annunciation of that turn of the tide of success 
which terminated the revolutionary war with the seal of 

North Carolina may glory in this decisive and 
splendid victory, which relieved her from further 
invasion of her western borders. Her sons had 
originated the campaign, her money equipped its 

*Those who desire to continue the story can derive pleasure and 
profit perusing it in Mr. Draper's book. 
(Bancroft, vol. 5, p. 400. 

Hon. J SEPH M<? D OWE L.L, 


ITero of Rams ours Mill, Kings T'louri tain and Cowpens 
andlVleTriber of Congress. 

soldiers, her sons constituted two-thirds of its army 
and most of its leaders were her citizens. 

We yield to Virginia her full share of the glory, 
and accord to South Carolina praise for unexpected 
assistance which she so freely gave, but we must 
be pardoned for publishing the facts of history as 
they are, that North Carolina's name may not be 
obscured in the story of this great achievement. 

NOTE. A monument thirty feet high and constructed of granite 
blocks now stands upon the summit of King's Mountain to com- 
memorate the deeds of the patriotic men who won this memorable 
victory. The Legislature of North' Carolina appropriated $1500 to the 
work, and yet among the list of names chiseled on this monument 
the name of McDowell does not appear. The McDowells of Burke, 
in conjunction with Sevier, conceived the scheme and organized the 
American force which captured Ferguson and led the attack in the 
battle. Such are the egregious blunders and injustice which char- 
acterize history ; such are the sins committed in its name. 


Cornwallis Retreats from Charlotte to Winnsboro General Morgan 
joins Gates at Hillsboro Gates moves from Hillsboro to Char- 
lotte General Nathanael Greene supersedes Gates December 
4th, 1780, at Charlotte Personal Sketches of Greene and Corn- 
wallis Greene Moves to " Camp Repose " on the Pee Dee 
Morgan sent to the Western Part of the State December i6th 
Sketch of General Morgan Lee's Legion joins Greene Char- 
acter of Lee -The North Carolina Riflemen join Morgan 310 
Strong The Fight at Hammonds' Store Maneuvering of 
Tarleton and Morgan Their respective Strength Tarleton's 
Character Battle of Cowpens January the I7th, 1781. 

TTTHEN we took up the story of King's Moun- 
* ^ tain, Cornwallis was at Charlotte, North 
Carolina, where his army was every day subjected 
to insult and annoyance from the rancorous Whigs, 
who listened to no overtures of conciliation, and 
continued to shoot down his sentinels and foragers. 
General Davidson was, with his brigade of militia, 
between Charlotte and Salisbury, watching events. 
General Gates, with the scattered remnants of his 
army and some accessions of militia, was at Hills- 
boro. The Governor, Abner Nash, was exerting 
himself with patriotic energy to supply the wants 
of the army and place it again in the field. Public 
spirit was manifested by the people, and the officials 
seemed determined " to pluck safety from this 
nettle of danger." 

The messengers whom Ferguson had sent to 
Cornwallis from Tate's plantation (in Cleveland 


County now) narrowly escaped capture in the Whig 
settlement of Crowder's Creek, where the Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterians resided, and consequently they 
did not reach Cornwallis until the yth day of 
October, while the conflict was raging on King's 
Mountain. Cornwallis appreciating Ferguson's 
danger, and suddenly aroused to the consciousness 
that an unexpected army had sprung up, from 
some unknown region, in front of him, immediately 
ordered Colonel Tarleton to hasten to his rescue. 
Tarleton left next morning. 

The messengers, Collins and Quinn, returned 
with him as guides, and Tarleton intended to cross 
the Catawba at Armour's Ford, near the mouth ol 
the South Fork. The ford was deep and the cross- 
ing proved dangerous, many of the advance guard 
being compelled to swim. It was resolved, there- 
fore, to remain on the east side until morning; but 
the next day, before the water subsided, two men 
who had been near the battle, or perhaps some of the 
foragers who escaped, informed Tarletou of the 
disaster which had befallen Ferguson at King's 
Mountain, and he beat a hasty retreat to Charlotte,* 
arriving there the same evening. 

Coruwallis was panic-stricken at the news of the 
destruction of his left wing, and his own exposure 
thereby to sudden attack. The Whigs purposely 
exaggerated the number of the army that had over- 
whelmed Ferguson, and conveyed to Cornwallis 
intimations that these men were marching westward 

*General Graham in University Magazine, vol. 5, p. 101. 


to join Davidson and attack the British at Char- 
lotte. Ninety-Six was now at the mercy of these 
invincible mountain hordes and the British army 
could be cut off from its line of retreat. His lord- 
ship did not tarry to hear arguments on the other 
side; he thought "discretion was the better part 
of valor" in the emergency, and therefore ordered 
his whole army to be in readiness in one hour to 
begin the retreat to Winnsboro, in Fairfield district, 
South Carolina, about seventy miles south of Char- 
lotte. The mud in the Black Jack (oak) country 
of the Waxhaws is proverbial for its sticky quality 
and the depth of its softness in rainy weather. It 
was then and is now a terror to all travelers, espe- 
cially wagoners, who are compelled to pass through 
it in the winter. At this time, the 8th of October, 
the rainy season had begun, and the roads were 
almost impassable. 

One McAfferty, a merchant of Charlotte, who 
was at heart a Whig, but who had remained in 
Charlotte to save his property, was selected as their 
guide. The retreat began at sunset on the even- 
ing of the Qth, taking the road leading to the old 
Nation Ford on the Catawba. "McAfferty led 
them the road to the right, about two miles below 
Charlotte, which went to Park's Mill. When they 
got near that place, he suggested that they were 
on the wrong road, and he must ride out to the left 
to find the right one, and in pretending to do this 
he escaped from them."* 

*Joseph Graham's account. 

The night was dark, and being near the hills of 
Cedar Creek, and floundering through the mud 
without guide or compass, the confusion was " worse 
confounded." In attempting to find roads leading 
to the left, so as to regain their proper route, they 
became separated and overcome by the fear that 
the Whigs had laid this snare to cover an attack. 
By midnight the two forces were three or four miles 
apart and did not succeed in reaching the Nation 
Ford road, and collecting their forces, until noon 
next day. 

McAfferty had ridden all night to reach Colonel 
Davie's camp and inform him of the situation. 
Davie started in pursuit next morning, but found 
the cavalry so formidable in their rear that he was 
unable to make an attack. Davie returned to his 
camp, on Sugar Creek,* the same evening. The 
roads were so deep with mud that Cornwallis was 
ten or twelve days reaching Winnsboro. 

This narrative of the British retreat is condensed 
from General Graham's article in the University 
Magazine. Tarleton denies that he returned to 
Charlotte. He says he received orders, at the Ca- 
tawba, to cross the country and intercept the line of 
retreat of the main army, and he complains bitterly 
that not being present to get the Legion baggage 
off, he lost all his knapsacks, which were in the 
rear wagons that were left sticking in the mud. 
Graham says forty wagons. No doubt Colonel 

*Tarleton places General Sumner at that time at Alexander's Mill, 
on a branch of Rocky River ; p. 165. 

Davie's cavalry enjoyed this a treasure-trove" and 
added it to his scanty supply. 

Tarleton* says, "The royal forces remained two 
days in an anxious and miserable situation in the 
Catawba settlement, owing to a dangerous fever 
which suddenly attacked Lord Cornwallis, and to 
the want of forage and provisions." Tarleton him- 
self had just passed through a spell of fever. "When 
the physicians declared his lordship could not 
endure the motion of a wagon, Colonel Lord Raw- 
don, the. second in command, directed the troops to 
cross Sugar Creek." 

Tarleton, in his usual vein of criticism, reflects 
on the judgment of Cornwallis for choosing Char- 
lotte as the basis of ' operations against North 
Carolina, on account of the disloyalty of the people 
of that region, whose hostility to the British was 
so injurious and annoying to him, and for allowing 
Ferguson to march so far from the main army that 
he could not be supported when necessity required. 
Tarleton was of opinion that the invasion should 
have been attempted by Cross Creek (near Fayette- 
ville), where the loyalists abounded, and would 
have assisted his march by communicating to him 
the movements of the American forces. At Char- 
lotte the Whigs watched every suspicious person, 
and intercepted ail communication with the country. 
To this cause is to be attributed the fact that Fer- 
guson received no reinforcement. 

It was the end of October before Cornwallis 

*Page 167. 

(i8 3 ) 

recovered entirely from his fever. His headquar- 
ters were now established at Winnsboro, which, as 
before stated, was seventy miles south of Charlotte. 
The region of South Carolina north of Ninety-Six, 
was abandoned. Camden on the right was in sup- 
porting distance, and the section around Winnsboro 
afforded provisions for the army during the winter. 
Coniwallis hoped to rest and recruit his army at 
this point, and be ready to renew his march into 
North Carolina in the spring. "The winter cam- 
paign was abandoned."' 

His lordship, however, was not the sole arbiter 
of his own destiny. It was being "rough hewn" 
by the up-country men, who were gathering again 
to disturb his winter's repose, and force him a 
second time to navigate the miry roads that led 
him to the devoted province he fain would enter 
for conquest and glory. He had aroused the spirit 
of the hardy men of the mountains, who never 
waited for weather or the rules of warfare, as they 
are taught in books; men who had discovered their 
strength and were eager to encounter the British 
regulars, now they had " Burgoyned " Ferguson 
and his Provincials. 

We shall leave his lordship to indulge in the 
dreams of a cozy fireside, while we visit the Ameri- 
can lines and relate the preparations being made to 
disappoint these dreams and hopes of conquest. 

General Gates was exerting himself with unusual 
energy, at Hillsboro, North Carolina, to reorganize 

*Tarleton, p. 168. 

(i8 4 ) 

"his army and collect reinforcements. When he 
had begun his march to Camden, he had, for- 
tunately, been compelled to leave two pieces of 
cannon behind for want of transportation. To 
these he added a few iron pieces, and thns was able 
to form a small park of artillery. On the i6th of 
September Colonel Buford, of Virginia, with the 
mangled remnant of his regiment and two hundred 
recruits, arrived in camp. Another small detach- 
ment from Virginia, without arms, came in a few 
days after. About fifty of Colonel Porterfield's 
regiment, that escaped from Camden, now joined 
this force and constituted the Virginia line. 

About this time Colonel Daniel Morgan, a Vir- 
ginian, who had acquired such harvests of laurels 
at Quebec and Saratoga, arrived in camp. His 
great reputation as a hard fighter and intrepid 
leader greatly encouraged the troops and revived 
the hopes of the people. He had only a few fol- 
lowers, young men who had come to share with 
him in service and honor. General Gates ordered 
four companies to be drafted from the regiments, to 
be equipped as light infantry and to form a partisan 
corps under command of Morgan. Colonel White 
and Colonel William Washington, who had been so 
roughly handled by Tarletoii after the fall of Charles- 
ton r had seventy cavalry and these were added to 
this corps.* Colonel White, who was in disrepute, 
was granted leave of absence, and Colonel Wash- 
ington was placed in command. To these were 

*Johnson's Life of Greene, vol. i, p. 313. 

still added a small company of sixty riflemen under 
Major Rose. 

North Carolina, whose military resources had 
been well-nigh exhausted by the capture of all her 
regulars at Charleston, and in supplying the 
militia who were under Caswell at Gates' defeat, 
was enabled, by extraordinary exertions, to collect 
a suit of comfortable clothing for each one of Mor- 
gan's command before they entered on the severe 
and active duties before them. She also supplied 
the other troops, but not so comfortably as Morgan's. 
Tents they had none, and blankets but a scant 

1780. Morgan's corps began its march for Salis- 
bury from Hillsboro, North Carolina, on the ist 
day of November, and the remainder of the army 
followed on the 2d day. 

General Smallwood, who had been commissioned 
by the State, was in command of the militia and 
posted at Providence, six miles south of Charlotte. 
Morgan passed Charlotte and ventured to the neigh- 
borhood of Camdeii and occupied the ground which 
was the scene of the great misfortune in August. 

Cornwallis heard with amazement that the inva- 
sion from the enemy to the south was substituted 
for his own invasion to the north, and began to 
realize that his conquest of South Carolina was far 
from completion, and that North Carolina defied 
his boasting threats. 

The winter campaign of the Americans had 
begun when his lordship abandoned his own. 

( i 8 6 ) 

There was to be no repose for the distinguished 

Cornwallis had at this time about five thousand 
men at his various posts, and five hundred recruits 
had just reached him from the north. 

On the 2Oth of November Colonel Sumter de- 
feated Tarleton at Blackstocks, but himself received 
a ball through his right breast near the shoulder, 
which detained him for a length of time from ser- 
vice. Suspended between horses and guarded by 
out hundred faithful followers, he was conveyed to 
a place of safety in North Carolina. 

The cavalry under Colonel Davie, and the militia 
under Davidson, whose term of service expired in 
November, returned home.* General Gates moved 
slowly westward, arriving at Charlotte the latter 
part of October. He recalled Morgan and Small- 
wood to that place and fixed his headquarters there. 

This was the military situation when Major 
General Nathanael Greene, a native of Rhode Island 
and the trusted friend of General Washington, 
arrived at Charlotte on the 2d day of December, 
1780, and assumed command on the 4th of the same 
month at that place. 

Judge Johnson announces the appointment of 
General Greene and describes him personally as 
follows : 

"The order of the commander-in-chief, which assigned 
General Nathanael Greene to the command of the South- 

*General Joseph Graham. 

ern Department, bears date the i4th day of October, 
1780. Until that period his standing in the army was 
of the first order of respectability. He enjoyed the con- 
fidence of Washington and the country, and had ever 
discharged the duties of the man and the soldier with 
fidelity and ability. But no opportunities had yet been 
afforded him of displaying .those eminent talents which 
then broke upon the American people and exhibited a 
splendor of military character excelled only by him 
whom none can equal. 

"General Greene was at that time in the thirty-ninth 
year of his age ; his stature about five feet ten or eleven 
inches ; his frame vigorous and well proportioned ; his 
port erect and commanding ; nor was his martial appear- 
ance diminished bv a slight obstruction in the motion 

J O 

of his right leg, contracted in early life. The general 
character of his face was that of manly beauty. His 
fair and florid complexion had not entirely yielded to the 
exposures of five campaigns ; nor was a slight blemish 
in the right eye observed but to excite regret that it did 
not equal the benevolent expression and brilliancy of the 
left. Such is the portrait of the man. His manners 
were uniformly consonant to the gravity of his character 
and dignity of his station. Yet he could be cheerful, 
even to playfulness, and his intercourse with the world 
was marked with that unaffected urbanity of manners 
that flowed from the politeness of his heart. Whether 
grave or gay, he could accommodate himself to society 
with a grace and facility which may be acquired from 
long and general intercourse with polite circles, but 
which, in him, is to be attributed to rapid observation, 
a quick perception of propriety, and a mind well stored 
with sound and useful information. 


"Advantages in early life he had none ; born and 
raised in obscurity, without education and without 
society, he exhibited a striking instance of what good 
examples, sound principles, and native genius, and above 
all, industrious habits and a careful improvement of time 
can accomplish."* 

Perhaps the best delineation of his military char- 
acter was given by a British officer who opposed 
him in New Jersey. He writes : 

1 f Greene is as dangerous as Washington ; he is vigi- 
lant, enterprising and full of resources. With but little 
hope of gaining any advantage over him, I never feel 
secure when encamped in his neighborhood." 

General Washington thus bears testimony to his 
unselfish devotion to the cause of independence : 

"There is no officer in the army more sincerely 
attached to the interests of his country than General 
Greene. Could he but promote those interests in the 
character of a corporal, he would exchange without a 
murmur his epaulette for the knob. For although he 
is not without ambition, yet ambition has not for its 
object the highest rank so much as the greatest good." 

"Greene was born the 26th of May, 1742. His father 
was a miller, an anchor smith and a Quaker preacher. 
In early, life he followed the plow and worked at the 
forge. His education was of an ordinary kind ; but 
having an early thirst for knowledge, he applied himself 
sedulously to various studies whilst subsisting by the 

*Life of Greene, vol. i, pp. 1-2. 
*Garden's Anecdotes, p. 76. 

(i8 9 ) 

labor of his hands. Nature had endowed him with 
quick pans and a sound judgment, and his assiduity was 
crowned with success. He became fluent and instruc- 
tive in conversation, and his letters, still extant, show 
that he held an able pen."* 

With these precedents and snch a character as 
we have seen portrayed by the leading historians 
01 our country, he came to the South to contend 
with one of the best trained soldiers of England. 
He found the fragments of a defeated army, 
unclothed and without tents, in the midst of winter, 
with a scant supply of provisions in a country 
already exhausted by a hostile army ; soldiers 
poorly equipped with arms, and dispirited by defeat 
and loss of confidence in their commander. He 
was to create an army out of this raw material 
and fight it against the veteran soldiers of England. 
This was all that stood between North Carolina 
and British conquest. 

We have this sketch of the early life of Corn- 
wallis, which will be interesting to a reader who 
follows his subsequent career: 

"Earl Cornwallis, Viscount Brome, was born in Gov- 
ernor Square, London, December 31, 1738. He was 
educated at Eton. While at college, playing at hockey, 
he received a blow which produced a slight but perma- 
nent obliquity of vision. The boy who accidentally caused 
this was Shute Barrington, afterwards Bishop of Dur- 
ham. After finishing his education he chose the army 

*Irving's Washington, vol. 2, p. 8. 

( 190) 

for his profession. His first commission, as ensign in 
the Foot Guards, is dated December 8th, 1756. His 
first lesson in war was as aid to the Marquis of Grandby 
in the contest between England and France in 1761. 
He had been elected a member of Parliament from Eye, 
and, upon the death of his father the following year, took 
his seat in the House of Lords. When in Parliament 
he was strongly opposed to the scheme of taxing America, 
but when the war came, as an officer of the army, he 
accepted active employment against the colonists. On 
February the loth, 1776, he embarked for 'America in 
command of a division."* 

Cornwallis was personally a very brave man and 
an accomplished soldier. While he did not indi- 
vidually commit acts of cruelty, he allowed his 
subordinates to do so without rebuke, and at times 
commended them for their conduct. He was a 
hard-hearted man, that never listened with pity to 
the supplications for mercy, and oppressed the people 
whom he conquered without compunction or com- 
passion. He did not hesitate to violate his promises 
or break his engagements, if they stood in the way 
of his success. As a general he was vigilant and 
cautious, but slow. His judgment was not sound, 
and he was wanting in diplomacy or management. 
As a whole he was a military failure. He lost 
South Carolina and Georgia, and failed to overrun 
North Carolina. In Virginia he was captured and 
the cause he espoused went down beneath his ban- 
ners. It may be that with an ordinary man like 

*Wheeler's Reminiscences^ p. 186. 

General Lincoln for an opponent, he might have 
attained renown, but unfortunately for his fame he 
was opposed by a man who was by intuition a 
soldier, and by experience skilled in the art of war. 

The first preparation made by General Greene for 
the campaign in North Carolina, which was soon to 
begin , manifested his foresight and military sagacity. 
The country through which the movements of his 
army, whether in advance or retreat, were to be 
made, was traversed by three large streams, the 
Dan, the Yadkin and the Catawba, and a knowl- 
edge of their crossings and the roads leading to 
their fords and ferries was indispensable to safety 
and success. 

Colonel Edward Carrington of Virginia, Greene's 
Quartermaster General, an energetic, judicious and 
efficient soldier, was sent to make a thorough explo- 
ration and map of the Dan; General Stevens, at 
that time commanding a detachment of militia, 
undertook the same work on the Yadkin, and 
Kosciusko, the patriotic Pole, then chief engineer 
of the army, explored the Catawba. The historical 
retreat across these streams was made possible by 
the information which General Greene derived from 
these reports. The first duty of a good soldier is 
to make himself master of the geography of the 
country in which he is to maneuver. Looking to 
future necessities, General Greene also established 
magazines of stores and ammunition on the Roanoke 
and at Oliphaut's Mill, on the upper waters of the 
Catawba River. 

( 192 ) 

The first success of his little army was of a 
humorous character, and greatly enlivened the 
camp. Colonel Washington rode to Cleremount, 
in South Carolina, to attack a band of loyalists 
who held that fort. Not being able to storm it, 
Washington resorted to the stratagem of painting 
a pine log and mounting it on wheels, which he 
brought in sight of the besieged, threatening dire 
vengeance with his cannon if Rugely did not sur- 
render immediately. The garrison was surrendered, 
and when disarmed was allowed to inspect the 

The whole number of regulars of all arms in 
Greene's camp did not exceed eleven hundred, and 
of these not eight hundred could be mustered with 
arms' and clothing fit for duty. Some of Colonel 
Washington's cdvalry were so naked that they were 
ordered back to Virginia to be clothed. 

The provisions around Charlotte were nearly 
exhausted, and Colonel Thomas Polk, who was 
acting as Commissary General, reported that he 
could not gather more than a week's supply. 

Colonel Polk resigned this place, and General 
Greene insisted on Colonel William R. Davie, who 
was j 1 t at this time without a command, taking 
the office of Commissary General. Colonel Davie 
reluctantly accepted, his nature being more adapted 
to field service and partisan warfare, but he yielded 
these objections and went to work with system and 
energy to find subsistence for the army ; and to his 
timely efforts General Greene owed much of the 

( 193 ) 

success of his future operations. We have seen 
heretofore the adventurous skill and intrepidity of 
this distinguished North Carolinian, who was now 
to enter through his office into the most confiden- 
tial relations with his commander, and who in after 
life was to have heaped upon him honors which 
seldom fall to the lot of man. Colonel Davie was, 
at this time, only twenty-four years old. 

The selection of Carringtoii and Davie was the 
evidence of Greene's wonderful discrimination in 
the selection of men. 

In order to subsist his army, General Greene 
selected the head of navigation on the Pee Dee 
River as a " camp of repose," where he could feed 
and rest and drill his little army. Kosciusko was 
sent to select and lay out the camp and explore the 

The States had been called upon by Congress to 
provide subsistence directly to the army, and Colo- 
nel Davie was sent to the Legislature of North 
Carolina to urge compliance with this reasonable 
requirement. He met with a prompt and liberal 
support, and " arrangements were made to collect 
magazines at every court-house in the State, and 
officers appointed to register and report the produce 
on hand and the wagons and means of transporta- 
tion in every county." 

The next matter which strongly presented itself 
to General Greene was the re-establishment of the 
North Carolina Continental line. The whole of 
this class of the State's military force had been 



captured at Charleston, but it was estimated that 
two or three hundred had escaped or were left 
behind in North Carolina from sickness and other 
causes, and the supernumerary officers who had 
lost their commands at the reorganization were 
scattered through the country. 

General Jethro Sunnier, the senior officer on the 
Continental establishment in the State, was called 
upon to pay immediate attention to this matter, and 
strong appeals were made to the Governor to aid 
in this work. 

There were various other matters requiring con- 
sideration, and it is said that Greene allowed him- 
self not a moment's respite from the most intense 
application to business until everything necessary 
for .the operations of an army, even down to an axe 
or a nail, had received his attention. 

On the 2oth of December the army, except 
Morgan's command, abandoned their huts at Char- 
lotte and .took up their line of inarch by Wadesboro 
to Haley's Ferry on the Pee Dee, where it was 
originally designed to be posted ; but at the sug- 
gestion of Kosciusko they moved down the east 
side of the river to Hicks' Creek, nearly opposite 
the Cheraw Hill. General Isaac Huger, the only 
general officer, except Morgan, with Greene, was in 
command. Morgan had been appointed a Briga- 
dier General by Congress, with a commission dating 
the 1 3th day of October, 1780. On the i6th day 
of December he was given a separate command by 
General Greene, and ordered to put himself on the 
left flank of Cornwallis. 


The order itself is the best explanation of this 
movement, and it is given in full : 

u CAMP CHARLOTTE, December i6th, -1780. 

' ' You are appointed to the command of a corps of light 
infantry of 320 men detached from the Maryland line, a 
detachment of Virginia militia of 200 men, and Colonel 
Washington's regiment of light horse, amounting to 
from sixty to an hundred men. With these troops you 
will proceed to the west side of the Catawba River, 
where you will be joined by a body of volunteer militia 
under command of General Davidson of this State and 
by the militia lately under command of General Sumter. 

u This force and such others as may join you from 
Georgia you will employ against the enemy on the \vest 
side of the Catawba, either offensively or defensively, as 
your own prudence and discretion may direct, acting 
with caution, and avoiding surprises by every possible 
precaution. For the present I give you entire command 
in that quarter, and do hereby require all officers and 
soldiers engaged in the American cause to be subject to 
your orders and command. 

"The object of this detachment is to give protection to 
that part of the country and spirit up the people ; to 
annoy the enemy in that quarter ; to collect the provi- 
sion and forage out of their way, which you will have 
formed into a number of small magazines in the rear of 
the position you may think proper to take. 

"You will prevent plundering as much as possible, and 
be as careful of your provisions and,, forage as may be, 
giving receipts for whatever you take to all such as are 
friends to the independence of America. 

(i 9 6) 

"Should the enemy move in force towards the Pee Dee, 
where the army will take a position, you will move in 
such a direction as to enable you to join me if necessary, 
or fall upon the flank, or into the rear of the enemy, as 
occasion may require. You will spare no pains to get 
good intelligence of the enemy's situation, and keep me 
constantly advised of both your and their movements. 

"You will appoint, for the time being, a commissary, 
quartermaster, and foragemaster, who will follow your 
instructions in their respective lines. Confiding in your 
abilities and activity, I intrust you with this command, 
persuaded," &c. 

General Morgan was born of Welsh parents in 
Himterdon Comity, New Jersey, in the winter of 
1736, and was now forty-four years old, but his 
strength and his spirit was unimpaired, except from 
occasional attacks of rheumatism, which he had 
contracted at Valley Forge. His parents were 
poor and he had in early age wandered from them 
never to- return. Fate 'brought him to Virginia, 
where he became a wagoner, and in that capacity 
was attached to Braddock's army. It was while 
here that he struck a British officer who insulted 
him, and for this manly act was condemned to 
receive five hundred lashes. He languished but 
recovered from this inhuman and barbarous punish- 
ment; his accuser afterwards admitting that he 
himself deserved the blow that he received. 

Morgan was an Indian fighter of the frontiers, 
and when the revolution came it found him ready 
for war and enjoying the full confidence of his 

people. He entered the army and was captured in 
the assault on Quebec. After nearly a year's 
captivity he was exchanged, and feeling the love 
of his native earth, he fell upon the ground and 
cried, "Oh! my country." He did not kiss the 
earth as his mother, but embraced it as his home. 
In 1779 he retired from the army, but when Gates 
was defeated he offered his services and came to 
Hillsboro for duty. Gates had done him great 
injustice while serving under him in New York, 
but this he forgave. He is described as u tall, 
muscular, vigorous and active ; trained from his 
childhood to an outdoor life of exertion which gave 
strength and elasticity to his limbs, with a clear 
and kindling eye, an open countenance full of char- 
acter, but full too of good humor, with a keen rustic 
wit and a hardihood which secured him the first 
place in bold enterprises and athletic sports."* 

General Greene reached his encampment the day 
after Christmas and immediately bent his whole 
energy and talent in improving his little army. 
He healed all jealousies, roused the spirit of the 
troops, sought for them food and clothing, nursed 
the sick, encouraged the feeble, and personally 
supervised every effort to bring them into soldierly 
training. Here these cold and hungry and naked 
troops found some repose in their huts, and had 
many of the social enjoyments of camp life. They 
soon became acquainted with their commander, and 
learned to love him and confide 'in him as their 

*Greene's Life of Greene, vol. 3, p. 95. 


leader. He had much magnetism about him, and 
all soldiers under his command drew closer to him 
and became devoted to his fortunes. Greene called 
this encampment the " Camp of Repose "; but while 
his soldiers were enjoying the repose, his fertile 
and active brain was conceiving stratagems and 
snares which were to perplex and worry his antag- 
onist. From this camp Camden, Georgetown and 
Winnsboro were all in striking distance, and the 
lines of their communication exposed, while Morgan 
threatened the British left and cut off their foragers. 

While at "Camp Repose" on the Pee Dee, Colo- 
nel Henry Lee, known as "Light-Horse Harry," 
and father of the late General Robert E. Lee, joined 
General Greene. Lee commanded a Legion com- 
posed of 300 men 150 infantry and 150 horse. 
Both men and officers were picked men : the officers 
were chosen in reference to their talents and expe- 
rience; the men in proportion, from the regulars 
of the army. Virginia furnished twenty-five of 
these men. The Continental troops of the other 
Southern States had been sent south, and of course 
those States did not contribute.* 

The uniform of Lee's Legion was exactly like 
that of Tarleton's, which made it difficult to dis- 
tinguish them from each other, f 

The horses for the three cavalry companies were 
procured in Maryland and were of the best the 
country afforded. It was all in all a magnificent 

*Johnson's Life of Greene, vol. I, p. 354. 
fjohnson's Life of Greene, vol. i, p. 453. 

( 199) 

Legion, and we can well excuse the vanity of its 
colonel, whose tardiness of approach was attributed 
to his desire to be seen and admired of % men on his 
march south . Lee had distinguished himself already 
as a dashing, intrepid soldier, and his advent was 
hailed with deligrit. He was young and handsome. 
Born the 29th January, 1756, he was just about to 
enter his twenty-fifth year. He was proud and brave 
but not generous ; he was a genius, full of resources, 
and when acting independently, quick, restless and 
fierce. He was not just to his comrades when 
acting with others; self-willed and hard to be 
restrained. It is to be lamented that to so many 
virtues he added infirmities and faults which often 
exposed him to the severest criticism. He was, 
however, a sincere and ardent patriot and devoted 
to the cause he had espoused with so much fervor 
and zeal. 

Lee reached the Pee Dee on the I2th of January, 
and with him came Colonel Green, of Virginia, 
with 400 men a fine body of soldiers. 

1781. General Greene immediately ordered Lee 
to join General Marion, which he did on the 23d 
January, and made with him a combined attack on 
Georgetown, South Carolina. The attempt was 
unsuccessful, after promising the greatest results; 
but it produced a panic among the British at that 
place which soon caused them to evacuate the town. 
Marion was thereby given greater latitude, and the 
troops were encouraged. Cornwallis discovered 
that Greene was never idle. 

( 2 O O ) 

We shall now follow General Morgan to victory. 

1781. Morgan's march led him across the 
Catawba River at Biggin's Ferry, just below where 
the South Fork River empties into that stream, and 
across the Broad River above the mouth of the 
Pacolet. He took post on the north bank of the 
Pacolet on the 25th day of December and began to 
.gather forces and information. Many of the Whigs 
of upper South Carolina had been compelled, under 
duress, to take protection and give their paroles to 
be inactive, but seeing an opportunity now to recover 
independence, they began to embody for defence. 
Andrew Pickens was one of this olass, and he 
determined to take all the risks and enter the field. 
After sending off their families to the mountains 
Colonel Pickens and Colonel McCall joined Morgan 
with 100 men. Colonel William Lee Davidson, of 
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, also led to 
Morgan 120 men and returned to bring 500 more 
and thereby missed the battle of Cowpens.* He 
reached Morgan's camp on the 29th December. 
Major Joseph McDowell of "Quaker Meadows" 
also joined Morgan with 190 North Carolina rifle- 
men from Burke County ;f aggregating 310 men 
from North Carolina at that time with General 
Morgan, all of whom participated in the battle of 

Judge Johnson commits the unpardonable error 
of stating that Major McDowell was from South 

*Johnson's Life of Greene, vol. i, p. 362. 
|Gordon's History, vol. 4, p. 31. 


Carolina. It is passing strange that it could have 
been conscientiously committed, when we consider 
that Major McDowell had never quit the field after 
the battle of King's Mountain, in October, where 
he had so distinguished himself, and the further 
fact that after the war he had been a prominent 
member of the Congress of the United States from 
North Carolina, and, most probably, was personally 
known to Judge Johnson. It can only be excused 
on the ground of intemperate zeal on the part of 
tli at author to claim almost everything for South 
Carolina, regardless of the justice due his neigh- 
boring State. He shows but little appreciation, in 
his whole history, of the fact that North Carolina 
soldiers were foremost in every battle fought to 
redeem South Carolina from the conquest which 
followed the surrender of Charleston, and that her 
whole Continental line defended that ill-fated city 
to the last extremity when South Carolina troops 
refused to enter that pitfall of Lincoln's folly. 

Colonel Pickens' command proper was only 70 
meii.t He had recently escaped from captivity at 
Ninety-Six;!; and had no time to raise a force or to 
equip it when raised. Colonel McCall's Georgians 
were only 30 in number, but they were trained men, 
volunteers who had kept the field after the affair at 
Blackstocks. McDowell's 190 men were all mounted 
volunteers, hardy mountaineers who had fought at 
Musgrove's Mill and King's Mountain, riflemen, 

*Jolinson's Traditions, p. 308. 
tCrordon, vol. 4, p. 31. 
jGordon, vol. 4, p. 31. 


with Deckards in their hands, and withal were as 
good troops as any that Morgan had in his com- 
mand. The first dash that Morgan made at the 
British, McDowell's mounted men, under Colonel 
McCall, who ranked Major McDowell, constituted 
two-thirds of the force. 

On the second day after Morgan's arrival at his 
camp, information was brought him that 250 Tories 
had advanced from the Savannah River to a point 
twenty miles south of him, and were committing 
outrages on the Whigs. Morgan detached Colonel 
Washington with 75 cavalry, McCall's small com- 
mand, and McDowell's mounted men in quest of 
this party. The Tories, hearing of his approach, 
retreated to Hammond's Store, twenty miles further 
south, where Washington overtook them and imme- 
diately ordered a charge. It was a bloody retribu- 
tion that so early overtook these marauders. The 
killed and wounded were 150, prisoners 40 ; the 
remainder' escaped. These men, cowardly and 
vindictive, had come to plunder and oppress their 
neighbors, supposing that there was no resistance 
to encounter, and they fell victims of justice before 
an outraged foe. McCall's men remembered that 
Colonel Brown., the Tory who occupied Augusta, 
had, a few weeks before, brought twelve Whig 
prisoners into his house, where he lay wounded, 
and had them hung in his presence from the stair- 
way, one by one, and other twelve he had delivered 
to his Indian allies, who tortured them to death at 


the stake. Such fiends deserved every vengeance 
that justice could inflict. 

Morgan having some apprehension for the safety 
of Colonel Washington, who was near Tarletoii's 
Legion of 250 cavalry, crossed the Pacolet and 
advanced to cover his retreat. This done he resumed 
his former post. 

Lord Cornwallis was restless over these bold 
movements of his enemy, and concluded to open the 
campaign again which he had abandoned in the 
winter. General Leslie had been sent south with 
2000 men as a reinforcement, and they were 
approaching Camden, as Cornwallis explained 
afterwards, to threaten Greene, and were to be 
moved rapidly across to Winnsboro, where the 
combined army was to be thrown forward between 
the Catawba and the Broad Rivers to separate 
Greene from Morgan, and Morgan was to be anni- 
hilated by a corps of the best troops, selected for 
that purpose, and under the command of Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Banistre Tarleton, a more vindictive 
and merciless marauder than Ferguson ; but of a 
class usually chosen by Cornwallis to do the inhu- 
man work which he was ashamed to do in person. 
His orders were to "push Morgan to the utmost." 
He did "push" Morgan in the race, but Tarleton 
was \\\ front of it just a little ahead of "Washing- 
ton's cavalry. He underrated Morgan, who, Ban- 
croft says, " was at that time the ablest commander 
of light troops in the world; in no European army 
of that day were there troops like those he trained."* 

*Bancroft's History, vol. 5, p. 480. 


The vainglorious correspondence between Corn- 
wallis and Tarleton reminds one of some of the 
ludicrous scenes in the comic opera of the "Grand 

1781. "Dear Tarleton," affectionately writes his 
lordship, on the 2d of January, "if Morgan is still 
anywhere within your reach I shall wish you to push 
him to the utmost. No time is to be lost !" 

"My Lord," Tarleton responds, "I will either destroy 
Morgan's corps or push it to King's Mountain. 

"I feel bold in offering my opinion, as it flows from 
well-grounded inquiry of the enemy's intentions." 

" Dear Tarleton : You have understood my inten- 
tions perfectly." 

Those "intentions" were understood to mean 
that if Morgan was overcome his corps was to be 
""destroyed" after the precedent set at the Wax- 

Cornwailis was to advance towards Charlotte a. 
few days ahead of Tarleton, in order to capture the 
fugitives from Morgan's defeated army and prevent 
them from joining Greene; but without informing 
Tarleton of his change of mind, he concluded to 
await at Turkey Creek, forty miles north of Winns- 
boro, the result of Tarleton's expedition, having 
wisely, considered that it was possible that as unex- 
pected a reverse might attend Tarleton as that 
which overtook Ferguson. 

On the 1 4th January, Tarleton crossed the Enoree 
and Tyger rivers above Cherokee Ford and north- 


west of it. These tributaries of the Broad flow east 
into that stream. On the i5th, Morgan was at 
Burr's Mill on Thicketty Creek. He there received 
information of Tarleton's approach with noo men 
and was anxious^ to avoid an action if possible. He 
sent a courier to Greene informing him of his desires 
and reminding him that he had previously urged 
that he be recalled to the main army, as the country 
was laid waste and no subsistence was to be found. 

On the 1 5th, Morgan crossed Thicketty Creek 
and marched north toward the Broad, which here 
runs almost east, while in the evening Tarleton 
occupied the camp he left at Burr's Mill. 

Tarletou's command consisted of 550 men which 
constituted his Legion, the yth regiment of 200 
men, the first battalion of the yist regiment, the 
light infantry of the yist, and some loyalists who 
were the "bummers" of that dav. To this was 
added two field pieces served by a detachment of 
royal artillery; amounting in all to eleven hundred 
men, though Tarleton says he had only 1000 men. 

Morgan's corps consisted of 320 men from the 
Maryland line, 200 Virginia militia, Colonel Wash- 
ington's cavalry, 75 men these making 575 men 
of all arms with which he started. To this were 
added McDowell's mounted North Carolina volun- 
teers, 190 men, Davidson's Mecklenburg volunteers, 
a part of whom, however, were from Tryon in all 
310 North Carolinians, Pickens' South Carolinians, 
70 men, and the Georgians under McCall, about 30. 
Sum total 985 men. 


It is probable that a few Georgia militia were 
added to this command before the battle took place. 

Banistre Tarleton was born in Liverpool, August 
2ist, 1754, and was not yet twenty-seven years old, 
but he was notorious even at that age not famous 
but infamous. He had selected and trained his 
Legion and infused his own spirit and opinions into 
it. He set examples and they followed them. He 
declared " that severity alone could effect the estab- 
lishment of regal authority in America," and exer- 
cised that severity without mercy or humanity 
whenever opportunity offered. 

A writer who was cotemporary with him says: 
"It is difficult to speak with temper of a man whose 
invariable aim was to destroy, whose resentments 
were only to be appeased by an increasing flow of 
blood." :i: 

The slaughter of Buforcl's men was so cruel and 
heartless that an American officer of undoubted 
integrity, who visited his wretched victims, declares 

" Many of them were left in a perfect state of naked- 
ness, having been stript of every article of clothing ; and 
that the wounds inflicted amounted on an average to 
sixteen to each individual."! Finally, "after partaking of 
the hospitality of the widow of General Richardson, he 
not only plundered the house and burned it, but spurned 
this venerable lady with his foot. "I 

*Garden, p. 284. 
fGarden, p. 284. 
JGarden, p. 284. 

(20 7 ) 

Such was the venomous character of the man 
who was nearing the Cowpens, and in sight 
of King's Mountain was burning vvith rage against 
Ferguson's conquerors. How many horrors were 
averted by his defeat no human wisdom can calcu- 

Morgan's camp was at the Cowpens, "on a wide 
plain covered with primeval pines and chestnut and 
oak, about sixteen miles from Spartanburg, seven 
miles from Cherokee Ford on the Broad River, and 
a little less than five miles south from the North 
Carolina line."* It was also on the same ground 
where the "Backwater men" encamped the even- 
ing of the 6th of October and refreshed themselves 
for the night march in pursuit of Ferguson, and 
in Morgan's camp were a part of those same men 
who had brought him to bay and scattered his 
army to the four winds of heaven. Feeling the 
pride of conquest, they were ready to pluck fresh 
laurels for their brow by disposing of Tarleton as 
they did of Ferguson. McDowell's'.men were eager 
*br the fray. Morgan's little army were in the best 
spirits over their recent adventure with the Tories, 
ai}d the regulars were anxious to wipe out the 
recollection of Camden by a victory at Cowpens. 
Tarleton believed at that time that Corn wallis was in 
the rear of Morgan, instead of being a day's march 
southeast of him, waiting events at Turkey Creek; 
consequently Tarleton moved northwest towards 
the upper Pacolet to drive Morgan east into the 

*Bancroftj vol. 5, p. 482. 


snare they had set for him. Morgan had announced 
at Cowpens, to his army, his resolution to fight,, 
and the cry to "lead them to victory" was the 
response from every lip. He therefore moved south 
on the 1 6th to intercept and fight Tarleton at the 
crossing of the Pacolet, but Tarleton, suddenly 
turning down from the upper Pacolet, crossed that 
stream above Morgan to its northern bank. This 
necessitated the falling back of Morgan to his 
former position at the Cowpens, where he deter- 
mined to give Tarleton battle. 

1781. Tarleton halted the evening of the 1 6th on 
the ground the Americans had left, and finding that 
Morgan had retreated, supposed that he intended 
to fly in order to avoid a battle. Early on the 
morning of the ijih day of January Tarleton 
resumed his march to overtake Morgan. 

" It was 8 o'clock A. M. that the British army 
arrived in view of the Americans; and instead of 
overtaking his adversary in the hurry and confu- 
sion and fatigue of a flight, Tarleton found him 
rested, breakfasted, deliberately drawn up, every 
man at his post, and their commander in a popular 
and forcible style of elocution haranguing them." 1 

Tarleton had been five hours on the march 
through the darkness and his troops were much 
fatigued, but he determined to take advantage of 
the excitement and attack at once. 

Morgan has been criticised severely by tacticians 
for his selection of ground, the Broad River being 

*Johnsou's Life of Greene, vol. i, p. 372. 


in his rearancl his wings unprotected "in the air," 
but Morgan's genius rose above the rules of theorists 
and was successful. In defence of himself he wrote : 

" I W'tild not have a swamp in view of my militia for 
any consideration." They would have made for it and 
nothing' could have detained them. As to covering my 
wings, I knew my adversary, and was perfectly sure I 
should have nothing but downright fighting. As to 
retreat, it was the very thing I wished to cut off all hope 
of. I would have thanked Tarleton if he had surrounded 
me with his cavalry. It would have been better than 
placing my own men in the rear to shoot down those 
who broke from the ranks. When men are forced to 
fight they will sell their lives dearly ; and I knew that 
the diead of Tarleton's cavalry would give due weight 
to the protection of my bayonets and keep my troops 
from breaking as Buford's regiment did. Had I crossed 
the river one-half the militia would have immediately 
abandoned me." 

The reasoning is sound and the result proved 
that it was correct. 

There was a slope of three hundred and fifty 
yards gently ascending to an eminence on which 
Morgan had taken his ground. It was covered with 
an open wood. "On the crown of this eminence 
was posted 290 Maryland regulars, and in line on 
their right the two companies of the Virginia militia 
under Triplet and Tate and a compaii}^ of Georgians 
under Captain Beattie, about 140 in the whole, 
making his rear line to consist of 430 men. This 


was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Hoxrard of 

In front of this line and about one hundred and 
fifty yards distant was the second line composed of 
190 North Carolina militia,* all of whom had seen 
service and were good soldiers, and about 80 South 
Carolinians. Johnson puts this line as 270 men. 
I am persuaded, however, that it was stronger than 
this, because the Mecklenburg militia numbered 
150 and perhaps only one-half, or 95, of McDowell's 
men were detailed as sharp-shooters in the front. 
This would leave 245 North Carolinians for the 
second line, and these added to the 70 South Caro- 
linians would make the total 315 instead of 270 
men, which is approximately correct. I judge this 
too from the gallant stand made by these troops, 
who were really veteran militia, except the new 
recruits recently organized by Pickens. It was 
these veterans who did the destructive work with 
their Deckard rifles that caused such slaughter 
among the British officers and threw them into con- 
fusion for want of orders and leaders. The militia, 
or second line, was put under the command of 
Colonel Andrew Pickens, of South Carolina, who 
was the ranking officer. 

In front of the militia, and one hundred and fifty 
yards in advance, General Morgan posted 150 picked 
riflemen as sharp-shooters, whose orders were to 
shoot for the "men who wore the epaulettes" kill 
the officers. It is probable, as we have seen, that 

*Ramsay's South Carolina, p. 225. 

13^- ^-^ ^^Z^Vt?^^--" 4 "-- 5 

^^acr-i-^* :r,i7^r 

- I'-'S.:;."^ 


- 5a F 



at least 95 of these men were North Carolinians ; 
the other 55 were Georgians, remnants of Clark's 
command. The Georgians were on the right, com- 
manded by Cunningham and Jackson, and the North 
Carolinians, under Major Joseph McDowell of Burke 
County, North Carolina, were on the left. 

In the rear of the regulars, under Howard, the 
ground descended gently and then rose again to 
another eminence, and behind this eminence, and 
concealed from view and secure from the cannonade, 
was Washington's cavalry, numbering about 90, and 
McCall's mounted, men, about 35, Baking only 125 
cavalry, to oppose the Legion of 550 men. 

The order to the sharp-shooters was to cover 
themselves by trees, if necessary, and not to fire 
until the enemy was in fifty yards ; after the first 
fire they were to fall back, loading and firing until 
they came to the main line under Colonel Pickens, 
where they were to fall in with the militia. This 
would give the second line a force of 450 men at 

The order to the militia or second line was to 
deliver two deliberate charges at the distance of fifty 
yards and then retire and take their post on the left 
of the regulars. If charged by cavalry every third 
man was to fire and two remain in reserve, lest the 
cavalry should continue to advance after the first 
fire, or these reserves were to fire if the cavalry 
wheeled to retire. 

The orders to the regulars were to fire low and 
deliberately, not to break on any account, and if 


forced to retire to rally on the eminence in their 

The baggage and militia horses had been sent 
several miles to the rear under a small escort. 

The order was then given to all the force to 
"ease their joints," that is, to assume comfortable 
attitudes until the enemy came in sight. All were 
in high spirits and full of confidence. 

Morgan went along the lines encouraging the 
men and exhorting them to stand firm and assuring 
them that they were about to gain a great victory. 
No doubt too that all eyes had surveyed the King's 
Mountain, not far distant in their view, and gathered 
from that glorious field fresh inspiration to their 
courage. They were reminded that militia alone 
had defeated Ferguson and that Tarleton's troops 
were, many of them, only galvanized regulars 
recruited from the ranks of desperate' Tories who 
cared to follow Tarleton more for plunder than for 

These noble men calmly surveyed the British as 
they deployed into line and waited their onset with 
the coolness of men determined to win. 

Tarletou gives the formation of his troops as 
follows : 

"The light infantry were ordered to file to the 
right till they became equal to the flank of the 
American front line; the Legion infantry were 
added to their left and, under the fire of a three- 
pounder, this part of the British troops was 
instructed to advance within three hundred yards 


of^the enemy. This situation being acquired, the 
7th regiment was commanded to form on the left 
of the Legion infantry, and the other three-pounder 
was given to the right division of the yth ; a cap- 
tain with fifty dragoons was placed on each flank 
of the corps, who formed the British front line, to 
protect their own and threaten the flanks of the 
enemy; the first battalion of the yist was desired 
to extend a little to the left of the second regiment 
and to remain 150 yards in the rear. This body 
of infantry, and near 200 cavalry, composed the 
reserve. During the execution of these arrange- 
ments the animation of the officers and the alacrity 
of the soldiers afforded the most promising assu- 
rances of success." 

Tarleton now advanced to reconnoiter the Amer- 
ican lines, but received a volley from the sharp- 
shooters in ambush. The cavalry were ordered to 
dislodge them, but fifteen saddles were quickly 
emptied. The sharp-shooters then retired, slowly 
firing as opportunity offered, until they reached the 
main line of the militia. 

The deadly aim of these riflemen, now for the 
first time encountered by Tarleton, so demoralized 
his cavalry that they could not be induced, after 
this, to charge upon them, and Tarleton complains 
severely against his troops for their consternation 
and want of daring. This rifle was an arm so 
destructive in the hands of men trained to its use 
in the hunting grounds of the mountains that it 

required the most desperate courage to advance 
within its range. 

Tarleton's whole line now advanced steadily 
under the fire of their artillery until the " dead 
line " of fifty yards distance was reached, when the 
riflemen, obeying orders, took deliberate aim, 
" marking as much as possible the epaulette men," 
and fired upon their assailants. 

As the shrill crack, sharp and thrilling,- resounded 
through the forest, the officers of the British line 
reeled like drunken men, or tnrew up their hands 
in the agonies of death and fell to the ground, and 
the sting of the bullet caused many a brave soldier 
to recoil from the charge. Still these trained men 
pressed forward in the face of death and received a 
fire more galling than the first. With bayonets 
fixed they moved forward again, and the 'militia, 
obeying the instructions given them, retired behind 
the regulars and on to the eminence in the rear. 
But the work had been done by them ; the mortal 
wound had been inflicted. The British were with- 
out officers and the line became a tumultuous mob, 
carried forward without method or order. 

The regulars now received them, firing low and 
striking the moving targets as they ascended the 
slope. The line halted, but continued to fire for 
thirty minutes, but the fire grew less frequent and 
slower in repetition. Tarleton was soldier enough 
to know that this was the precursor of retreat, and 
quickly ordered up the yist regiment into line and 
restored the attack ; he also ordered the cavalry to 


sweep upon the American left and turn their right 
flank. A portion of Tarletoii's dragoons had 
charged upon the militia in their retreat around the 
American left, and Colonel Washington, discovering 
the danger, made a furious charge from his covert 
under the eminence, and taking them by surprise, 
drove them in disorder to their lines. The militia- 
were now enabled to make their way undisturbed, 
and in order, around the second eminence to the 
right flank of the American line. 

Morgan, perceiving the threatened charge on his 
right flank, ordered the militia to form at right 
angles to the regulars and repel this assault of the 
cavalry. This movement of the militia was under- 
stood by llie regulars as the signal for their retreat 
to the second eminence, and they fell back in order. 
Tarleton, supposing this meant flight from the 
field, was exultant with joy, and sounded the charge 
along his whole line. The Americans were now 
in line on the second eminence, with the militia in 
order, covering their right flank, and as the British 
rushed forward with a shout, to run over and trample 
down and bayonet the expected fugitives, they were 
shocked with a terrific fire from the whole Ameri- 
can line. 

Morgan, who kept close to his regulars, had 
marched slowly back with them and watched the 
place he had selected for a stand. As the line came 
to the spot he called out in a stentorian voice, 
u Face about, give them one fire and the victory 
is ours !" The British were coming on in great 


disorder, at only thirty paces distant, and many 
of the Americans fired with their guns in the posi- 
tion for the use of the bayonet. Colonel Wash- 
ington had discovered the confusion of the enemy 
also, and cried out, "They are coming like a mob; 
give them one fire and I will charge them." As soon 
as the fire was delivered Morgan ordered a charge, 
and in a moment was upon the confused mass, strik- 
ing them down on every hand. The British were so 
bewildered by this sudden onset, and thrown into 
such confusion by their loss of officers, that they 
fell on their faces in consternation and begged 
piteously for quarter. The cry was heard, u Give 
them Tarleton's quarters," but Colonel Howard, 
calling to his men, reminded them of their duty to 
a fallen foe. Hearing his voice his soldiers obeyed 
his order and spared the men, who, a few moments 
before, were impatient to repeat the carnage in 
which they had revelled at the Waxhaws. 

The cavalry of the Legion seeing the riflemen in 
their front again, and witnessing the discomfiture 
of the infantry, could not be brought to the charge, 
but turning their heads they fled in confusion, 
trampling down their officers who vainly tried to 
rally them, and never stopped until they reached 
the camp of Cornwallis on Turkey Creek. 

Washington had fallen upon the enemy's right 
and was making for the artillery. Morgan ordered 
one company to go to his support, and putting the 
prisoners under three other companies, he wheeled 
upon the yist, which was still maintaining its 


ground. The British cavalry was gone, the militia 
disengaged bore down also on the 7ist, and all 
hope of escape having vanished, Colonel McArthur 
surrendered, Colonel Pickens receiving his sword. 
It was j nst at this time that Washington made 
so narrow an escape from death. The affair is thus 
related : 

"Whilst Washington was engaged with the artillerists 
Colonel Tarleton, at the head of all the cavalry who would 
follow him, hastened to their relief. Washington per- 
ceiving his approach, ordered his men to advance, and 
dashed forward himself. 

' l Tarleton prudently ordered a retreat. Being of course 
in the rear of his men, and looking behind, he perceived 
that Washington was very near him and full thirty yards 
ahead of his troops. Attended by two officers lie 
advanced to meet Washington. 

" One of the officers led, and parryinga blow aimed at 
him by Washington, the sword of the latter proved of 
inferior temper and broke midway. The next effort 
must have brought Washington to the ground. But a 
little henchman, not fourteen years old, who was devoted 
to his master, and carried no other weapon but a pistol 
at his saddle bow, had pressed forward to share or avert 
the danger that threatened his beloved master, and arrived 
in time to discharge the contents of his pistol into the 
shoulder that brandished the sword over Washington's 
head. It fell powerless, but the other officer had his 
sword all ready to inflict the wound, when Sergeant 
Major Perry reached the side of his commander just in 
time to receive the sword-arm of the officer upon the 
edge of his extended weapon. The wound also broke 


this blow. But Colonel Tarleton in the meantime was 
securely aiming another from his pistol. The noble 
animal that bore Washington was destined to receive the 
ball that had, rather discourteously, been aimed at his 
rider. Poor Perry's destiny was bound up with that of 
his commander, for at the battle of Eutaw, when the 
latter was made prisoner, Perry, by the same discharge, 
fell under five wounds. We are uninformed, but believe 
that he never recovered from them.' 1 

The victory was complete. Tarleton rallied, 
according to his account, fourteen officers and forty 
men and escaped from the field. Colonel Wash- 
ington's cavalry were unable to catch him in the 

It was Miss Jones, of Halifax, North Carolina, 
who had the encounter of words with Tarleton 
abont Washington. Tarleton, with a sneer of dis- 
dain, said he would like to see Colonel Washington 
of whom she spoke in such terms of praise. " You 
could easily have seen him by looking back at 
Cowpens," was the sarcastic reply. 

The material results of this splendid victory were 
two field pieces, which had heretofore been captured 
at Saratoga, then retaken at Camden, and now by 
the fortunes of war were in the hands of Morgan 
again, eight hundred muskets, two stands of colors,- 
thirty-five baggage wagons, one hundred dragoon 
horses and their equipments. 

The battle lasted fifty minutes, about the same 
as the battle of King's Mountain. The American 

^Johnson's Life of Greene, vol. i, p. 382. 


loss was comparatively small, the British, as 
usual, shooting too high. The whole loss of the 
Americans was only IT killed and 61 wounded, no 
officer of rank being in the list. 

The British loss was about 150 killed, 200 
wounded and 400 prisoners. At least one-tenth of 
their killed and wounded were officers, picked off 
by the militia riflemen. Ten officers were found 
in front of the militia where they received the first 
fire, and to this was attributed the confusion that 
ensued as they advanced. The men receiving no 
orders, every man advanced at his \vill and the 
lines became confused. 

Johnson, speaking of this fire, says: u At the 
assigned distance they delivered their fire with 
unerring aim and it was the magnanimous confes- 
sion of a gallant officer of the Maryland line who 
fought on this day 'that here the battle was 
gained/ and the killed and wounded lying in their 
front fully justified the assertion." 

The fatality among the British troops was won- 
derful, perhaps never equalled except at King's 
Mountain. There were about 650 infantry soldiers 
who bore the brunt of the battle and the killed and 
wounded were 350; assigning 50 to the cavalry, 
which is full enough, and we have 300 men, out of 
650, killed or wounded. There was no slaughter 
here after the battle was over, either, as was alleged 
at King's Mountain. It was simply the "unerring 
aim" of the North Carolina and Georgia riflemen; 
for the Georgians were veterans and also armed 

( 2 2 O ) 

with the rifle. Of the men who served under 
McDowell we have but little information, as no 
permanent records were ever kept of these numer- 
ous expeditions. We do know, however, that Cap- 
tain Joseph McDowell, a first cousin of the Major, 
who was known as "Pleasant Garden Joe," was 
among the "bravest of the brave," and followed 
the fortunes of the Burke men into every conflict. 
He was so prominent as to have misled Wheeler 
into the error of assigning him to the command. 
I have, however, examined the evidence and it is 
conclusive that he did not command, but was only 
a captain, both at King's Mountain and Cowpens. 

To this conclusion Mr. Draper has also arrived, 
after a most patient and exhaustive research. The 
evidence is chiefly the affidavits of men who applied 
for pensions and who speak of "Quaker Meadows 
Joe," or "General Joe," as their commander, for 
he was, after the revolution, made a general of 
militia. " Pleasant Garden Joe," Draper says, " was 
a physician and is regarded as having possessed 
the brightest intellect of any of the connection." 

Thomas Kennedy was another captain. He was 
wounded at Ramsour's Mill, shared in the battles 
of Cane Creek and King's Mountain. He removed 
to Kentucky and served in the legislature and 
convention of that State, and was quite a prominent 

David Vance, the grandfather of United States 
Senator Z. B. Vance and Congressman General 
Robert Vance, of North Carolina, was a conspicu- 

( 2 2 I ) 

ous figure in all the campaigns, and to the Vance- 
Henry memoranda we are largely indebted for the 
information we have of these men. Vance was too 
modest to record his own exploits and they are lost. 
We also find mention made of Samuel Wood and 
Joseph White as'captains in this command. Both 
followed the immigration west to the u dark and 
bloody ground" of Kentucky. Edmund Fear and 
John Ligman were also captains the latter a 
prominent leader. 

It is the fault of history to give too much promi- 
nence to commanders and ignore the men who died 
or fought to make them great, and in that way the 
truth is confounded. Colonel Andrew Pickens, by 
mere accident, outranked Major McDowell, and 
being in command, and from South Carolina, her 
historians are ever ready to ascribe all the glory of 
Cowpens to that State, when the fact is she had 
fewer troops present than either Georgia or North 
Carolina, and these were citizens who had, like 
Pickens, been forced to take British protection and 
had been quiet in the struggle. Finding an oppor- 
tunity now to throw off the yoke, they enlisted 
under Pickens and figuratively fought u with halters 
around their necks," as Judge. Johnson of that State 

I do not detract from the noble life and patriotic 
deeds of this gallant South Carolinian. No North 
Carolinian can afford to take one laurel from his 
crown of honor, for we shall see in the sequel that 
when he came to North Carolina, without troops, 


he was honored with position, and became so identi- 
fied with North Carolina history that it is difficult 
to assign him, as a military chieftain, to our sister 
State. He won his spurs and his Brigadier Gene- 
ral's commission at the head of North Carolina 
soldiers. North Carolina is entitled to share any 
honor that may be ascribed to him in this great 
struggle for independence. 

In our zeal to give to North Carolina her proper 
credit for this victory, we must not forget to assign 
all the honor due the Maryland line and its distin- 
guished commander, who afterwards became the 
Governor of his State. It was a Spartan band who 
had "pushed bayonets" (to use the phrase of that 
day) with the British at Camden and drove them 
from their front; they, with Dixon's North Caro- 
linians, and the "blue hen's chickens" of Dela- 
ware, were the only mourners around the dying 
DeKalb; they alone had followed him to the death 
and avenged him with the blood' of the men who 
murdered their fallen leader. Major Anderson of 
this line was the only officer who brought off an 
organized force from that ill-fated field, and all that 
remains of him is mingled with North Carolina 
soil at "Guilford Court-House," where he fell. 
No mark distinguishes his resting-place as yet, 
but it is a reproach which ought not longer to rest 
on his fellow-citizens, who followed after to enjoy 
the blessings purchased with his blood. 

Another hero of this veteran band was Captain 
John Smith, who met the Honorable Lieutenant 


Colonel Stewart, of the yist, in personal combat at 
Cowpens, and when separated, was menaced with 
the promise, "we shall meet again." The promise 
was kept, and Colonel Stewart's sword is now in 
an American museum, instead of hanging in honor 
aniong the heir-looms of his family. North Caro- 
lina regulars came to Washington's rescue in the 
hour of his "extremest danger," and far from 
home, without a chronicler, these deeds of valor are 
only seen here and there through the crevices of 
histories which were opened to illuminate the con- 
duct of others who stood by them. Let it not go 
unsaid that these brave Marylanders were the very 
heart of Greene's little army, that gave to it vitality 
and force, and that its blood moistened the soil of 
the Carolinas in every conflict from Camden to 
Eutaw. The names of Howard, and Anderson, and 
Ford, and Smith, all heroes indeed, should be em- 
blazoned on imperishable granite, where they could 
be u seen and read of all men," as future genera- 
tions may pass before it. Baltimore, "the Monu- 
mental City," has strangely forgotten the memory 
of those who gave this nation an existence and 
honored a few who repulsed simply an assault 
which was made upon it. 

How bitter was the disappointment of the British 
commander at this defeat of his pet Lieutenant is 
reflected through the account of Stedman, who 
upbraids Tarleton with incompetency and rashness 
and depreciates him as a military leader. 


"During the whole period of the war," he says, "no 
other action reflected so much dishonor upon the British 
arms. The British were superior in numbers. Morgan 
had only 540 Continentals, the rest militia. Tarleton's 
force composed the light troops of Lord Cornwallis' army. 
Every disaster that befell Lord Cornwallis after Tarle- 
ton's most shameful defeat at the Cowpens, may most 
justly be attributed to the imprudence and unsoldierly 
conduct of that officer in the action. It was asked why 
he did not consult Majors McArthur and Newmarsh, 
officers of experience and reputation who had been in 
service before Tarleton was born? * 
Is it possible for the mind to form any other conclusion 
than that there was a radical defect, and a want of mili- 
tary knowledge on the part of Colonel Tarleton ? That 
he possesses personal bravery, inferior to no man, is- 
beyond a doubt ; but his talents at the period we are 
speaking of never exceeded that of a partisan captain of 
light dragoons, daring in skirmishes."* 

It is a singular coincidence in history that both 
the victor and the vanquished were severely criti- 
cised by their friends ; but the strictures on Morgan 
were by scientific soldiers who never fought in a 
Parthian war or had the sons of the forest to com- 
pose their irregular lines. Irregular troops cannot 
be restrained or handled like the disciplined 
machinery of a continental line; they must have 
latitude for individual thought and be allowed some 
discretion themselves in the combat. Morgan, who 
had been one of these "irregulars" in early life, 

*Stedman's History, vol. 2, p. 324. 

was cognizant of these peculiarities and knew how 
to utilize them in times of danger. 

This triumph of Morgan's was the most pro- 
nounced and brilliant of any achieved by the South- 
ern army, prior to Yorktown. In fifty minutes a 
wh jle corps of the army of Cornwallis was destroyed, 
and this in the hearing of the British cannon. It 
was not Provincials or Tories who u fell on then 
faces and begged for quarters;" it was the flower of 
the British army; regulars, veterans, men who had 
been soldiers ''before Tarletoii was born." 

The humiliation of their prestige was the more 
keenly felt because they were routed by the 
"militia," whom they affected to contjmn and 

Morgan had proved his skill and strategy in the 
field and in battle and demonstrated his wonderful 
influence over his troops; by the celerity of his 
movements, his unceasing vigilance and masterly 
tactics, he was now about to win for himself the 
honor of being the Xenophon of the Revolution. 

We shall narrate the wonders of his retreat in 
the next chapter. 


Morgan's Retreat from Cowpens to the Catawba River Sends his 
Prisoners by Island Ford to Virginia He Crosses the Catawba 
with his Main Army at Sherrill's Ford January 2^(1, 1781 
Cornwallis reaches Ramsour's Mill the 25th Destroys all his 
Heavy Baggage Greene meets Morgan the 3oth at the Ca- 
tawba : Orders the Army from "Camp Repose" to Join 
Morgan on the Yadkin Battle at Cowan's Ford February 
i st Death of General William Lee Davidson Frederick 
Hager, the Tory, Fires the Fatal Shot Morgan Crosses the 
Yadkin at Trading Ford The two Armies Unite Finally at 
Guilford Court-House February loth General Morgan Disa- 
bled by Rheumatism Greene's Great Confidence in Him 
Retreat of Greene into Virginia Crosses the Dan, February 
1 4th. 

^ I ^HE British army was resting quietly in camp 
-* on Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Broad 
River, in the northwestern corner of what is now 
York County, South Carolina, and only twenty- 
five miles from Cowpens, where the battle was 
fought, waiting, as his lordship says, for L,eslie to 
reach him. The fright that followed King's Moun- 
tain had not entirely subsided, and he intended to 
secure his position and avoid another plunge 
through the blackjack mud before he advanced into 
North Carolina again. 

He had confidence in " Dear Tarleton," too, and 
was, perhaps, sipping a glass of wine, of which he 
was very fond, to make his heart glad and put it 
in unison with the tidings which he was every 
moment expecting from that intrepid leader. 


\Vhen tlie night gathered around his camp the 
sound of the cavalry approaching with rapid gait 
\Vcis heard, the wary sentinel challenged the ad- 
vance, the countersign was exchanged, and then 
the news was broken : u Tarleton is defeated and 
his corps destroyed." No more revelry now; grief 
and dismay were written on every face; the guards 
were doubled and parties sent to gather more tidings 
from the battle. It came, but only sorrow was 
added to dismay. Cornwallis seems to have been 
dumbfounded by the appalling news, and not 
knowing what to do, he did nothing for a whole 
day, and that da}' Morgan made his escape and 
carried his prisoners out of the reach of British 

The battle began about half-past 8 o'clock in the 
morning early for that season of the year and 
was over by 10 o'clock. Morgan knew that Tarle- 
ton \s cavalry had left without standing "on the order 
of their going," and that before the sun set Corn- 
wallis would be apprised of the defeat of his troops ; 
that if Cornwallis acted as his situation demanded 
he would at once advance northward to throw him- 
self between Morgan and Greene and prevent a 
junction of their commands and, if fortune favored, 
overtake Morgan and rescue the prisoners and 
scatter his forces in the mountains. Morgan, 
therefore, immediately detailed Colonel Pickens to 
bury the dead and collect the wounded of both 
armies and provide them with what comforts he 
could from the captured stores and tents of the 


enemy, while he began the retreat. The day was 
spent in this work, and the unfortunate men were 
left in tents under a safeguard and a flag and 
Pickens, with his mounted command, made all 
haste to overtake his general. 

Morgan had left before noon, taking the pris- 
oners and cannon and captured muskets and ammu- 
nition along. The other wagons and all the heavy 
baggage that could not be removed were burned on 
the field. Morgan was still, however, encumbered 
with so many prisoners that his inarch was neces- 
sarily slow, but he persevered with all the energy 
possible, being aware that his safety depended on 
eluding the pursuit of the main army under Corn- 
wallis. He intended, if Cornwallis got between 
him. and Greene, to retreat into or across the moun- 
tains, if necessary, and either fight at some strong 
pass or make his way by a circuitous route into 
Virginia. But the fatal delay of one day by Corn- 
wallis gave Morgan the requisite start, and he 
never lost the distance and advantage which was 
thus given him. 

He left the battle-field shortly after noon of the 
same day it was fought and crossed Broad River, 
in Rutherford County, that evening. Early on the 
morning of the i8th Morgan resumed his march, 
going north towards Gilberttown; the same line 
of advance and retreat formerly travelled by 'the 
King's Mountain men, no doubt being guided by 
the McDowells who knew every path and strong 
position in the country. Patrols were sent out in 


the direction of approach of the army of Corn- 
wallis and, on their return in the evening, Morgan 
was as much surprised as delighted to learn that 
not only had Coniwallis not moved yet, but that 
there were no signs ot his moving. All was u sn- 
pineness and indecision" around his camp. 

At Gilberttown, three miles from where the town 
of Rntherfordton now is, Morgan u detached the 
greater part of his militia and a part of Colonel 
Washington's cavalry (as a guard) with the pris- 
oners. The detachment took the Cane Creek road, 
through the ledge of mountains which divides the 
head-waters of the South Fork from the main 
Caftiwba, and then down the Catawba near where 
Morgan ton now stands, and on, until they crossed 
at the Island Ford. At this ford Washington's 
cavalry left the prisoners with the militia (under 
Pickens) and rejoined Morgan."* This reconciles 
the contention that Morgan crossed at Island Ford. 

It was only this part of his force that crossed 
there, while he himself, with his main army, which 
he constantly kept between his militia and prisoners 
on the one hand and Coniwallis on the other, 
crossed at Sherrill's Ford, eight or nine miles further 
down the stream. He had approached Sherrill's 
Ford by taking the old Flint Hill road running 
east from Gilberttown and leading across the South 
Fork River, about one mile northwest of the present 
town of Lincolnton, at Gattis' Ford, to Ramsour's 
Mill, on Clark's Creek, which is about half mile 

^General Joseph Graham in the University Magax.ine, vol. 5, p. 104. 


from the junction of that creek with the South 
Fork. Morgan crossed at SherriU's Ford on the 
evening of the 23d of January, 1781. 

1781. At the Island Ford, on the east bank of the 
Catawba, "Major Hyrne, the Commissary of pris- 
oners, received from Pickens the 600 prisoners," and 
they took the upper route, going northwest, into Vir- 
ginia. Prisoners were generally kept in the neigh- 
borhood of Charlottesville, Virginia, at that date. 

Returning now to the British camp we find that 
it was not until the iQth, the second day after the 
battle, that Cornwallis moved north, taking all 
his cumbrous baggage along, and with orders to 
the cavalry to return to his camp every night. He 
marched up the east bank of the Broad, crossing 
Buffalo and King's Creek, to the second, or little 
Broad River, where, hearing that Morgan had gone 
east, he turned to the northeast until he came to 
the old Flint Hill road, which Morgan had traveled, 
and thence down that road to Ramsour's Mill, on 
the 25th day of January, 1781. If he had made a 
forced march, even as late as the iQth, directly 
across from Turkey Creek, he could have easily 
reached Ramsour's Mill on the 2oth, where he 
would have intercepted Morgan at this junction of 
their respective roads, and Tarleton censures Corn- 
wallis for not moving in that direction. It is prob- 
able, however, that Morgan would have been early 
advised of this movement and escaped by the upper 
route. When Cornwallis reached Ramsour's Mill 
Morgan had crossed the Catawba River twenty-five 

miles beyond and was read} to turn the captured 
cannon on his British pursuers. 

It is a common error, in the histories of this 
remarkable retreat, to attribute the escape of Morgan, 
from the pursuit of Cornwallis, to the sudden 
rise in the water of the Catawba. Providence may 
have confounded the judgment of Cornwallis and 
thus retarded his march, but up to this time, had 
not sent the floods to redeem the patriot host. 
Morgan outstripped the British army in the race 
and had a day of rest before resuming it again. 
The vigilance of Morgan was unceasing; he was 
soon informed that Cornwallis had stopped at 
Ramsour's Mill for reflection and he took advantage 
of it to rest his own troops on the eastern bank of 
the Catawba while the militia under Pickens were 
pushing the prisoners out of reach. Morgan was 
anxious to secure every one of them to exchange 
for the Continental line of North Carolina, cap- 
tured at Charleston, who were then languishing 
and wasting away in the British prison ships. 
Greene had sorely lamented the paroling of the 
King's Mountain prisoners, by which he had lost 
the opportunity for exchange. 

Cornwallis had lost the iyth and iSth of January 
in his camp waiting for Leslie, and when he did 
move he took six days of a circuitous route to reach 
Ramsour's Mill, which he ought to have reached 
in two. At Ramsour's Mill some fatuity over- 
shadowed his reason and caused him to stop two 
davs more. 


On the 25th of January, the day that Cormvallis 
reached Ramsour's Mill, the news of Morgan's 
victory reached General Greene at his camp on 
the Pee Dee. His little army was immediately 
ordered to prepare to march to the assist;, n ? of 
Morgan. The troops were poorly clad ana the 
winter was cold ; but they received the orders of 
their commander with cheerfulness and confidence. 
The 25th, 26th and 2/th of January were spent in 
energetic preparation for the march, and the most 
minute orders were given as to every detail before 
General Greene would consent to leave. 

On the 28th, the day that Cormvallis left Ram- 
sour's Mill, General Greene did what will be deemed 
by many the most imprudent act of his life. " With 
only a guide, an aid and a sergeant's guard of cavalry, 
he struck across the country to join Morgan and 
aid him in his arduous operations." The distance 
he had to traverse was one hundred miles; yet on 
the 3oth we have his letters dated from Sherrill's 
Ford. :;: Erroneous traditions have crept into history 
that after Greene's arrival he and Morgan disagreed 
or quarreled, and that for this reason Morgan so 
soon retired from the campaign. Nothing is further 
from the truth. They were cordial, confidential 
and in entire accord. They both agreed that if 
Cornwallis resumed the pursuit, before the prisoners 
had been far enough away for security, that they 
would give him battle as he crossed the stream. 
They were in no hurry to leave. 

*Johnson's Life; of Greene, vol. i, p. 403. 

The proper name is Sherrill's, not Sherard's Ford. 


The army of Greene had been ordered to march up 
the Yadkin (called lower down the Pee Dee) and to 
be in position near Salisbury to join Morgan, and 
were now on their way under General H tiger. 

Lord Cornwallis, having lost most of his light 
troops at Cowpehs, determined to relieve himself 
of ever_v possible encumbrance and enter with 
renewed ardor upon the pursuit of Morgan. Sted- 
man says that 

"Previously to the arrival of the British troops on the 
banks of the Catawba, Lord Cornwallis, considering that 
the loss of his light troops could only be remedied by 
the activity of the whole army, resolved to destroy all 
the superfluous baggage. By first reducing the size aud 
quantity of his own, he set an example which was cheer- 
fully followed by all the officers in his command, although 
by so doing they sustained a considerable loss. No 
wagons were reserved except those loaded with hospital 
stores, salt and ammunition, and four empty ones for the 
accommodation of the sick or wounded. And such was 
the ardour, both of officers and soldiers, and their will- 
ingness to submit to any hardship for the promotion of 
the service, that this arrangement, which deprived them 
of all future prospect of spirituous liquors, and even 
hazarded a regular supply of provisions, was acquiesced 
in without a murmur."* 

To this destruction of his whole material train 
and necessary outfit for a winter campaign is 
attributed the final discomfiture of Cornwallis at 

*It is curious to read in this day of the threat emphasis laid upon 
the loss of the liquors ; Stedman gives it preference to " provisions." 


Guilford Court House. The supplies he burned 
could not be replaced short of Wilmington, and 
thither he was compelled to go when a reverse met 
his arms. 

While at Ramsour's Mill many of the Hessian 
mercenaries deserted, and some English soldiers; 
in all it is estimated that 250 deserted. This is 
accounted for first, on the ground that the Hes- 
sians found here a German-speaking population, 
and caring no more for British than American 
principles, they escaped and became laborers in the 
country. The English, it is said, rebelled at the 
loss of the porter* and rum the "want of his gill 
of rum was more distinctly reali/ed than the love 
of his King and country.'' 

Finally the British army resumed its march on 
the 28th of January, taking the highway leading 
to Beattie's Ford, which is the direct route to Salis- 
bury. This, however, was intended to deceive the 
Americans, as the real place selected for crossing 
was Cowan's Ford, a few miles lower down. 

We do not know the exact numbers of the British 
army at this time. In a letter of Cornwallis, dated 
the 1 8th December at Winnsboro, he says: u I have 
a good account of our recruits in general, and hope 
to inarch from hence with 3500 fighting men.' 1 He 
lost, perhaps, Soo men at Cowpens, and received 
the 1500 men under General Leslie, and in round 
numbers must have had at least 4000 fighting men. 

~*NoTK. The jrlass from the broken porter bottles were gathered 
for years by the potters to j^lax.e their earthen-ware. 

( 235 ) 

Sir Henry Clinton estimates it at "considerably 
above 3000, exclusive of cavalry and militia." 

AYe must now look to the east and see what 
preparations were being made on that side of the 
Catawba to dispute the passage of the British army. 
General Rutherford was then a captive at St. Au- 
gustine and General William Lee Davidson, of 
Mecklenburg, had been appointed to the command 
of his militia district during his absence. This 
division, General Graham states, embraced the 
" old superior court districts of Salisbury and Mor- 
ganton, now composing the fourth and fifth divis- 
ions of North Carolina militia, whose returns of 
effective men at this time (1821) exceed twenty 
thousand men." : As soon as General Davidson 
was informed of the advance of the British army 
he ordered out the next detachment, which was 
detailed for duty from the counties under his com- 
mand, to rendezvous between Charlotte and the 
Catawba River. On the i9th he received informa- 
tion of Tarleton's defeat and hastened a letter, by 
special messenger, to General Greene on the Pee 
Dee. On the 2 1 st a body of twenty \Yhigs brought 
in twenty-eight British stragglers whom the}- had 
picked up after the battle of Cowpens, and from 
them all the details were gathered. 

I now incorporate the narrative of General Gra- 
ham, which is so interesting that I need make no 
apology for doing so. 

^University Maga/ine, p. 103. 

(236 ) 

"General Davidson was without cavalry and directed 
Adjutant Graham (afterwards General Joseph Graham), 
who had now recovered from his wounds received the 
26th of September, to raise a company of cavalry, prom- 
ising that those who furnished their own horses and 
equipments and served six weeks should be considered 
as having served a tour of three months, the term of 
duty required by the law. In a few days he succeeded 
in raising a company of 56, mostly enterprising young 
men, who had seen service, but found it difficult to pro- 
cure arms. Only 45 swords could be produced, and one- 
half of them were made by the country blacksmiths. 
Only 15 had pistols, but they, all liad rifles. They car- 
ried the muzzle in a small boot, fastened beside the right 
stirrup leather, and the but ran through the shot-bag 
belt, so that the lock came directly under the right arm. 
Those who 'had a pistol carried it swung by a strap, 
about the size of a bridle-rein, on the left side over the 
sword, which was belted higher than the modern mode 
of wearing it, so as not to entangle the legs when acting 
on foot. They had at all times all their arms with them, 
whether on foot or on horseback, and could act as infantry 
or cavalry, and move individually or collectively as 
emergencies might require. With those arms, and 
mounted generally on strong and durable horses, with a 
pair of saddle-bags for the convenience of the rider and 
a wallet of provender for his horse, they were ready for 
service without commissary, quartermaster or other staff. 

"General Davidson finding the enemy approaching so 
near, divided those under his command in order to guard 
the different fords on the Catawba. At Tuckaseege 
Ford, on the road leading from Ramsour's to Charlotte, 
he placed two hundred men under Colonel Joseph Wil- 


liams, of Surry. At Tool's Ford seventy men under 
Captain Potts, of MerVlenburg,* at Cowan's Ford 
twenty-five men under Lieutenant Thomas Davidson, of 
Mecklenburg. With his greatest force and Graham's 
cavalry, he took post at Beattie's Ford on the road from 
Ramsour's Mill to .Salisbury being twenty miles above 
Colonel Williams. On the 3ist of January the cavalry 
were dispatched over the river, and ascertained that the 
enemy were encamped within four miles. Within two 
miles they discovered one hundred of their cavalry, who 
followed them to the river, but kept at a respectful 
distance. The dispositions that were being made caused 
them to fear an ambuscade. 

"The same evening General Morgan sent on the troops 
under his command with Colonel Howard, directly 
towards Salisbury. He himself and Colonel Washington 
came down to Beattie's Ford, about 2 o'clock, and in 
ten minutes General Greene and his aid, Major Pierce, 
arrived. He had been early informed of the movements 
of the British army and had first put his troops in motion, 
then leaving them under command of General Huger on 
their march towards Salisbury, he had come on to ascer- 
tain the situation of affairs, and give orders to the officers 
in this quarter ; General Morgan and Colonel Washington 
met him at this place, by appointment. They and 
General Davidson retired with him out of the camp, 
and seating themselves on a log, had a conversation of 
about twenty minutes they then mounted their horses, 
General Greene and aid took the road to Salisbury, 
Morgan and Washington took a way that led to the 

*At Tuckaseege and Tool's fords, trees were felled in the road, 
and a ditch dug and parapet made. There was no such defences at 
the other fords. 

( 2 3 S ) 

troops inarching under Howard. About the time General 
Greene had arrived the British vanguard of about four or 
five hundred men appeared on the opposite hill beyond 
the river. Shortly after their arrival, some principal 
officer witli a numerous staff, thought to be Lord Corn- 
wallis, passed in front of them at different stations, halt- 
ing and apparently viewing us with spy-glasses. In 
about one hour after General Greene's departure General 
Davidson gave orders to the cavalry and about two 
hundred and fifty infantry to march down the river to 
Cowan's Ford, four miles below Beattie's, leaving nearly 
the same number at that place, under the command of 
Colonel Farmer, of Orange. On the march he stated to 
the commanding officer of the cavalry that, though 
General Greene had never seen the Catawba before, he 
appeared to know more about it than those who were 
raised on it, and it was the General's opinion that 'the 
enemy were determined to cross the river, and he thought 
it probable their cavalry would pass over some private 
ford in the night ; and in the morning when the infantry 
attempted to force a passage would attack those who 
resisted it, in the rear ; and as there was no other cavalry 
between Beattie's and Tuckaseege fords, he ordered that 
patrols who were best acquainted with the country should 
keep passing up and down all night, and on discovering 
any part of the enemy to have gotten over, to give imme- 
diate information to him. These orders were carried 
into effect. The party arrived at the ford about dusk 
in the evening, and after encamping it was too dark to 
examine our position. 

"At Cowan's 'Ford the river is supposed to be about 
four hundred yards wide, of different depths and rocky 
bottom. That called the wagon ford goes directly across 


the river ; on coming out on the eastern shore, the road 
turns down and winds up the point of a ridge, in order 
to graduate the ascent until it comes to its proper direc- 
tion. Above the coming-out place a flat piece of ground, 
not much higher than the water, grown over with haw 
and persimmon bushes and bamboo briars, five or six 
yards wide, extends up the river to the mouth of a small 
branch and deep ravine. 

" Outside of this the bank rises thirty or forty feet, at 
an angle of thirty degrees elevation ; then the rise is 
more gradual. That called the horse ford, at the 
present time much the most used, comes in on the west 
at the same place with the wagon ford, goes obliquely 
down the river about two-thirds of the way across, to 
the point of a large island, thence through the island 
and across the other one-third to the point of a rocky 
hill. Though it is longer, this way is much shallower 
and smoother than the wagon ford, and comes out about 
a quarter of a mile below. 

11 From the information received General Davidson 
supposed that if the enemy attempted to cross here they 
would take the horse ford. Accordingly he encamped 
on the hill which overlooks it. Lieutenant Thomas 
Davidson's picket of twenty-five men remained at their 
station, about fifty steps above the wagon ford, on the 
flat piece of ground before described, near the water's 

"On the same day, as Cornwallis was inarching to 
Beattie's Ford, about two miles from it at Colonel Black's 
farm, he left behind him, under the command of Brigadier 
General O'Hara, twelve hundred infantry and Tarleton's 
cavalry, which in the night moved secretly down to 
Cowan's Ford, onlv three miles below. The next morn- 

( 2 4 o ) 

ing at dawn of day, the ist of February, 1781, he had 
his columns formed, the infantry in front with fixed 
bayonets, muskets empty, carried on the left shoulder 
at a slope, cartridge-box on the same shoulder, and each 
man had a stick about the size of a hoop-pole, eight 
feet long, which he kept setting on the bottom below 
him to support him against the rapidity of the current, 
which was generally waist deep, and in some places 
more. (It is stated by historians that the river was 
swollen so as to impede the passage of the British. The 
fact is, it ivas fordable from the week before until tzvo 
days after this time, though a little deeper than usual. 
The cause of the enemy's delay must have been the dis- 
position by General Davidson to guard the fords.) 

"The command of the front was committed to Colonel 
Hall of the guards, who had for a guide Frederick Hager, 
a renegade Tory who lived within two miles of the place. 
They entered the river by sections of four, and took the 
wagon ford. 

"The morning was cloudy, and a fog hung over the 
\vater, so that Lieutenant Davidson's sentinel could not 
see them until they were near one hundred yards in the 
river. He instantly fired on them, which roused the 
guard, who kept up the fire, but the enemy continued to 
advance. At the first alarm those under General Davidson 
paraded at the horse ford, and Graham's cavalry was 
ordered to move up briskly, to assist the picket ; but by 
the time they got there, and tied their horses and came 
up in a line to a high bank above the ford, in front of 
the column, it was within fifty yards of the eastern shore. 
They took steady and deliberate aim and fired. The 
effect was visible. The 'three first ranks looked thinned, 
and they halted. Colonel Hall was the first man who 

appeared on horseback, behind, about one hundred yards. 
He came pressing up their flank on the lower side and 
was distinctly heard giving orders, but we could not 
hear what they were. 

"The column again got in motion and kept on. One 
of the cavalry rifleinen reloaded and aimed at Colonel 
V^ J .l. At the flash of the .*\\.' both horse and rider went 
under the water, and rose down the stream. It appeared 
that the horse had gone over the man. Two or three of 
the soldiers caught him and raised him on the upper side. 

"The enemy kept steadily on, notwithstanding our 
fire was well maintained. As each section reached the 
shore they dropped their setting poles, and brought 
their muskets and cartridge-boxes to their places, faced 
to the left, and moved up the narrow strip of low ground 
to make room for the succeeding section, which moved 
on in the same manner. 

"By the time the front ranks go* twenty or thirty 
steps up the river they had loaded their pieces and began 
to fire up the bank. 

' ' The Americans receded a few steps when loading, 
and when ready to fire would advance to the summit of 
the hill, twenty-five or thirty steps from the enemy, as 
they deployed up the river bank. They had gained the 
ford and just commenced firing when General Davidson 
arrived from the horse ford with the infantry, and finding- 
his cavalry on the ground he chose to occupy, and 
impressed with opinion given by General Greene, that 
the enemy's cavalry would attack them in the rear, he 
ordered Graham's men to mount and go up the ridge 
and form two hundred yards behind. As they moved 
off, the infantry took their places, and the firing became 
brisk on both sides. 


(242 ) 

"The enemy moved steadily forward, their fire increas- 
ing, until their left reached the mouth of the branch 
upwards of thirty poles from the ford. The ravine was 
too deep to pass. The rear of their infantry and front 
of their cavalry was about the middle of the river, when 
the bugle sounded on the left, on which their fire slacked 
and nearly ceased. (They were loading their pieces,) 
In about a minute it sounded again, when their whole 
line from the ford to the branch advanced up the bank, 
with their arms at a trail. The hill was in many places 
so steep they had to pull up by the bushes. 

"General Davidson, finding them advancing with 
loaded guns, ordered a retreat for one hundred yards. 
On gaining the point of the ridge their fire was so heavy 
that he had to recede fifty steps beyond the ground 
assigned for formation ; he then ordered his men to take 
trees, and had them arranged to renew the battle. 

"The enemy was advancing slowly in line, and only 
firing scatteringly, when General Davidson was pierced 
by a ball and fell dead from his horse, 

("The General was shot with a small rifle-ball near 
the nipple of the left breast, and never moved after he fell. 
It was well known that their pilot, Frederick Hager, 
had a rifle of this description, and it was always believed 

that he shot him. Most of the other Tories returned at 

or before the close of the war, but Hager went to Ten- 
nessee and stayed there until some of the Davidson 
family moved to that country, when he moved, with 
eight or ten others, all fugitives from justice, and made 
the first American settlement on the Arkansas River 
near Six Post ; married and raised a family there, and died 
in the year 1814. Major David Wilson and two others 
found the General's body in the evening, carried him off 


in the night and buried him at Hopewell Church, higher 
lip on the Catawba River. Tne grave is yet known, 
and though Congress afterwards passed a resolution 
appropriating $500 for a monument, strange to tell, noth- 
ing is vet done to execute it.) 

?-> ^ 

"His infantry retreated in disorder from the unequal 
contest. They dispersed in small squads, and took 
through the thickets in order to evade the enemy's 
cavalry. Graham's cavalry, which was formed about 
one hundred yards in the rear of where Davidson fell, 
moved off in order. 

"At an early hour Cornwallis placed his remaining 
force in array on the face of the hill fronting Beattie's 
Ford, and as soon as the firing commenced at Cowan's 
Ford, made demonstrations of attacking the post at 
Beattie's. A company went into the water forty or fifty 
steps and fired. Four pieces of artillery fired smartly for 
thirty minutes, and his front lines kept firing by platoons, 
as in field exercises. It was only a feint, however. Few 
shots of the musketry reached the opposite shore, and 
the artillery did no injury but cut off the branches of 
some trees near our line, which was masked by the point 
of the hill from the enemy's fire. The ford was one 
hundred yards higher up then than now. When the 
British were deploying up the bank at Cowan's Ford, 
owing to the fog and density of the atmosphere, the 
report of the artillery and platoons at Beattie's Ford came 
down the river like repeated peals of thunder, as though 
it were within a mile, and was heard over the country, 
to the distance of twenty-five miles. Although it had 
no effect on our troops engaged at Cowan's (for the}' acted 
well under the circumstances), yet it had a wonderful 
effect on the people of the adjacent country. Hitching 


up their teams in great haste, and packing up their most 
valuable goods and some means of subsistence, the men 
who were not in service, and women and children, aban- 
doned their homes, and drove off in different directions. 

"In one hour after the firing the whole country appeared 
in motion, but unfortunately too many of them fled into 
the Salisbury road. The baggage and provision wagons 
had started from Cowan's as soon as the action began. 
Graham's cavalry maintained their order, and expected 
the enemy's cavalry would pursue the baggage. 

"A disposition was therefore made by placing four 
men with good horses as a rear guard, and despatching 
two others to give directions to the wagon-master, if he 
heard firing in his rear, to cause the teamsters to cut the 
horses from their wagons and clear themselves. Moving 
on slowly, halting occasionally, and no enemy appearing, 
it occurred to the commanding officer that the enemy's 
design must be to take Colonel Fanner in the rear, at 
Beattie's Ford (if he had maintained his position against 
the 'tremendous cannonade). It was believed he had no 
intelligence of their being actually across below the ford. 
The cavalry filed off along a by-road to give him notice, 
intending to form a junction with the foot one and a 
half miles from the ford at a farm. An old lady (the 
only person at the place), informed ,them that shortly 
after the firing had ceased General Davidson's aid had 
given notice to the party at Beattie's and they had retired 
already some distance on the Salisbury road. Some rain 
had fallen, and the men were wet and cold, and both 
men and horses having had but a scanty supply of pro- 
visions at Cowan's the evening before, it was concluded 
to get some sustenance and take it off a mile or two in 
the woods and eat it. V.idettes were ordered out, and, 


agreeably to rule in such cases, each right-hand file 
ordered to dismount and procure food for himself, com- 
rade and their horses, while the left file held the horses. 
They had not gotten half their supply when one of the 
videttes gave notice that on the other side of the farm 
some men were in. view, believed to be the enemy, but, 
having Hussar cloaks over their uniforms, could not be 
clearly ascertained, but by the taik of their horses 
being docked square off, which all knew was the mark 
of Tarleton's cavalry, they were instantly recognized , 
and orders given to mount, fronting the enemy. When 
all were in their places, they wheeled off, and up a lane, 
the whole British cavalry coming briskly round the farm 
on the other side. When Graham's party passed over a 
rise in the ground beyond the lane, they turned short to 
the right, and in twenty-five poles crossed a swampy 
branch. When the advance got over they wheeled to 
protect the rear, but the enemy were so eager in the pur- 
suit that they did not discover them, but kept on, at a 
brisk gallop, along the Salisbury road. This was about 
two miles from Torrence's tavern, whither they were 

"The men who retreated from Beattie's Ford, and some 
of those who had been at Cowan's, and many others, 
some of them South Carolina refugees, as they arrived 
at Torrence's tavern, halted. Being wet, cold and 
hungry, they began to drink spirits, carrying it out in 
pailsful. The wagons of many of the movers with their 
property were in the lane, the armed men all out of 
order and mixed with the wagons and people, so that 
the lane could scarely be passed, when the sound of the 
alarm was given from the west end of the lane, ' Tarle- 
ton is coming /' Though none had had time to become 

intoxicated, it was difficult to decide what course to 
pursue at such a crisis. Captain Nathaniel M. Martin, 
who had served under Colonel Davie, and six or eight 
others (armed as cavalry), rode up meeting the enemy, 
and called to the men to get over the fences and turn 
facing the enemy ; that he could make them halt until 
they could be ready ; some appeared disposed to do so ; 
others, when they crossed the fence, kept on, some with 
their pails of whiskey. Martin moved forward until 
within fifty yards of the enemy. They halted near two 
minutes. Tarleton could readily discover the confusion 
and disorder that prevailed. One of his party fired a 
carbine and shot down Captain Martin's horse ; he was 
entangled and taken prisoner, but escaped from the 
guard two days after. Tarleton and corps charged 
through the lane. The militia fled in every direction. 
Those who were on horse-back and kept the road were 
pursued about half a mile. Ten were killed, of whom 
several were old men, unarmed, who had come there in 
the general alarm, and a few were wounded, all with 
sabres. But few guns were fired. On the return of 
the dragoons from the pursuit they made great destruc- 
tion of the property in the wagons of those who were 
moving ; ripped up beds and strewed the feathers until 
the lane was covered with them. Everything else they 
could destroy was used in the same manner. 

" At Cowan's Ford, besides General Davidson, there 
were killed James Scott of Lieutenant Davidson's picket, 
Robert Beaty of Graham's cavalry, and one private of 
General Davidson's infantry in all, four. We had none 
wounded or taken. The enemy's loss,, as stated in th^ 
official account, published in 'the Charleston Gazette two 
months after, was Col or ell Hall of the guards, and 

another officer, and twenty-nine privates thirty-one in 
all, killed, and thirty-five wounded. They left sixteen, 
who were so badly wounded they could not be taken 
along, at Mr. Lucas' (the nearest farm), and a surgeon, 
under protection of a flag, was left with them. Two 
wounded officers wjere carried on biers, and such of the 
other wounded as could not walk were hauled in wagons. 
Some of their dead were found down the river some 
distance, lodged in fish-traps and on brush about the 
banks, on rocks, etc. An elegant beaver hat, made 
agreeably to the fashion of those times, marked inside, 
" The property ofjosiah Martin, Governor," was found 
ten miles below. It never was explained by what means 
his excellency lost his hat. He was not hurt himself. 

u When General O'Hara sent on Tarleton, his men 
kindled fires on the battle-ground to dry themselves, 
cook their breakfast, etc. They buried their dead, dis- 
posed of their wounded, and about midday he marched, 
and in the afternoon united with Lord Cornwallis at 
Givens' plantation, two miles from Beattie's Ford and 
one mile south of the Salisbury road. Tarleton joined 
them before night. It had rained at times all day, and 
in the evening and at night it fell in torrents. 

"The men under Colonel Williams and Captain Potts, 
who were guarding at Tuckaseege and Tool's fords, had 
early notice of the enemy's crossing, and retired. The 
different parties met in the afternoon at Jno. McK. Al- 
exander's, eight miles above Charlotte. By noon the 
next day all the men who were not dispersed were col- 
lected near Harriss' Mill, on Rocky River, ten or twelve 
miles from the enemy. 

"On the ad of February the morning was clear, 
though the roads verv bad with the rain that had fallen 

(2 4 8) 

the preceding night. The British army marched ten 
miles to Wilson's plantation and encamped. On their 
way they burnt Torrances' tavern (at that time kept by 
the widow Torrance ; her husband had been killed at 
the battle of Ramsour's Mill), and the dwelling-house of 
John Brevard, Esq. (Mr. Brevard was the father-in- 
law of General -Davidson, and at that time had several 
sons in the regular service. No other cause could be 
assigned for this barbarous mode of warfare.) Being 
now within twenty miles of Salisbury, the British Gen- 
eral, not doubting that the rains and bad roads would 
obstruct the march of General Morgan as much as it did 
his own, on the 3d of February marched at an early 
hour. His pioneers opened a kind of track in the bushes 
on each side of the road for a single file. The wagons, 
artillery and horsemen only kept the road. By the time 
they got within eight miles of Salisbury, their line of 
inarch was extended tour miles, but there were no troops 
near to intercept them. Their van arrived at Salisbury 
about three o'clock. Before the rear came in, Brigadier 
General O'Hara and the cavalry moved on. It was 
seven miles to the Trading Ford on the Yadkin, and it 
was getting dark when he came near. General Morgan 
had passed his regulars and baggage all over, and there 
remained on the south side only one hundred and fifty 
militia and the baggage-wagons of the troops which had 
escaped at Cowan's Ford, and some others. Finding 
the British approaching, the militia were drawn up near 
a half a mile from the ford, where a branch crosses, 
which was covered with small timber and bushes, and 
there was an old-field along the road in their front. 
When O'Hara came, twilight was nearly gone. The 
American position was low along the branch, under 


shade of the timber ; that of the advancing foe was open 
and on higher ground, and between them, and the sky 
was quite visible. When they came within sixty steps 
the Americans commenced firing; the enemy returned it 
and began to form a line. As their rear came up they 
extended their line- to the right, and were turning the 
left flank of the militia by crossing the branch above. 
This being discovered, a retreat was ordered, after having 
fired, some two, some three rounds. It was easily effected 
in the 'dark. They passed down the river two miles 
and crossed over, abandoning the baggage and other 
wagons which could not be gotten over, to the enemy, 
after taking out the horses. Two of the militia were 
killed. The loss of the enemy was not known, but from 
appearances of blood in different places, believed to be 
ten or twelve. They were by far the most numerous, 
yet from the positions of the contending parties, were 
most exposed. After the firing ceased the British 
marched on to the river, but found the water was too 
deep to ford, and still rising, and that General Morgan, 
encamped on the other side, had with him all the boats 
and canoes. General O'Hara returned to Salisbury the 
same night, notwithstanding the badness of the roads. 
Those under his command marched thirty-four miles in 
the course of this day and part of the night. On the 
4th the army needed rest, and their commander being, 
it is supposed, undecided what course to pursue, they 
remained in Salisbury." 

From Sherrill's Ford, on the 3Oth, General Greene 
writes General Huger explaining the military 
situation and ordering him to lead the army to the 
fords of the Yadkin and there await further orders. 

(2 50) 

111 this letter General Greene expresses an appre- 
hension that Arnold would make an incursion, by 
way of Wilmington and the Cape Fear River, and 
he directs that Colonel Islington should call out 
the militia to oppose him. He closes by saying: 
"I am not without hopes of ruining Lord Corn- 
wallis if he persists in his mad scheme of pushing 
through the country. Desire Colonel Lee to force 
a march to join us. Here is a fine field and great 
glory ahead." It is astonishing to discover how 
many varied circumstances are foreshadowed and 
orders given to meet them, and the many details 
and particulars discussed in this lengthy letter. 
Greene was not only comprehensive in intellect, but 
accurate and specific in his information, and saga- 
cious beyond measure, ready for any emergency. 
In another letter of the 3Oth he mentions the fact 
that Cornwallis had arrived at Ramsour's Mill. 
This demonstrates that Cornwallis was not press- 
ing the pursuit closely, and General Graham's 
narrative confirms .this view. It is strange that 
Colonel Lee should have fallen into the common 
error of supposing that Morgan was saved from the 
grasp of Cornwallis by a flood of water. But it is 
appropriate to remark that Lee's "general inaccu- 
racy," as Johnson calls it, is conspicuous through 
his whole Memoirs. He had the infirmity of Lord 
Erskine, of .using the personal pronoun, first person, 
singular number, rather too often, and his memory 
was frequently treacherous in describing the acts 
of others. These defects are not perhaps incon- 

sistent with patriotism or military skill, but are a 
little annoying to the patient investigator of truth. 
On the 3ist of January, Morgan had gone to Beat- 
tie's Ford, six miles nearer Salisbury, and on that 
evening, perceiving that Cornwallis would force a 
passage at some of the numerous fords, all of which 
could not be defended, he moved silently away 
towards Salisbury, marching all night and a part 
of the next day, thus gaining a full day's march on 
the British army. When Cornwallis crossed at 
Cowan's Ford on the morning of the ist of Febru- 
ary, Morgan was well on his way to the Trading 
Ford, on the Yadkin, seven miles east of Salisbury, 
which he crossed on the evening of the 3rd.* 

General Greene remained behind to bring off the 
militia, and directed them to rendezvous on the 
Salisbury road, sixteen miles from the river, and 
thither he repaired to await their coming. His 
clanger was more imminent at this point than he 
apprehended. He was unattended, and only six 
miles in advance of Torrance's Tavern, where 
Tarleton, at noon, had scattered the carousing 
Whigs. He was unaware of Greene's proximity 
and of the fact that twenty of his troopers could 
easily have led Greene captive into the British 
camp. Here, perhaps, Divine Providence was more 
conspicuously displayed. At midnight of the ist 
of February, Greene left the rendezvous, with his 
staff, for Salisbury. Johnson relates the story of 

*NOTE. Trading Ford is just below the railroad bridge on the 
North Carolina Railroad. 


the General's reception at the Steele tavern so well 
that we give it in his words : 

"On his arrival at Steele's tavern, in Salisbury, it 
was impossible not to perceive, in the deranged state of 
his dress and stiffness of his limbs, some symptoms of 
his late rapid movements and exposure to the weather ; 
and to the inquiries of Dr. Read, who received him on 
his alighting, he could not refrain from answering, ' Yes, 
fatigued, hungry, alone and penniless.' This reply did 
not escape the quick ears of his benevolent landlady ; 
and he was scarcely seated at a comfortable breakfast 
when she presented herself in the room, closed the door 
and exhibited a small bag of specie in each hand. 
'Take these,' said she, 'for you will want them, and I 
can do without them.' "* 

The meal being finished, he hastened away to 
overtake General Morgan. 

Cornwallis made but little progress on the ist, 
owing to the narrowness and badness of the private 
road he travelled from Cowan's Ford. He now 
added General O'Hara, with his mounted infantry, 
to his cavalry and ordered them to push forward 
rapidly to overtake the Americans, but this flying 
corps only came to Trading Ford in time to capture 
a few militia wagons that had been stuck in the 
mud, and for which the militia fired upon them 
from an ambuscade and killed about twenty, as 
related above. 

Morgan had transferred his troops across the 

*This lady was Mrs. Steele, the ancestor of Hon. John Steeie Hen- 
derson, of this generation. 


river on boats which Colonel Carrington had pre- 
viously collected, and the cavalry forded the stream. 
So that if the Yadkin had been too high to ford the 
ferry-boats were, by General Greene's foresight, in 
readiness to put his army across. These boats, and 
all others for miles around, were secured on the 
eastern bank, and Morgan, complacently viewing 
the swelling tide between him and Cornwallis, halted 
for a much-needed rest. Frustrated in this attempt 
to overtake the Americans, O'Hara gave vent to his 
anger by opening upon them a furious cannonade. 
Morgan had none to reply, as he had sent the little 
three-pounders, called " grass-hoppers," which he 
captured at Cowpens, along with the prisoners to 
a secure retreat. Morgan would not be encum- 
bered with artillery. 

During the cannonade General Greene occupied 
a little cabin under a hill, only the roof being visi- 
ble above it. Here, while issuing his orders, a 
cannon-ball struck the roof and scattered it in every 
direction, but Dr. Read, who relates the incident, 
says that the General "wrote on and seemed to 
notice nothing but his dispatches." 

Cornwallis awaited O'Hara's return to Salisbury, 
where he came the same night. Having sent out 
reconnoitering parties higher up the Yadkin, and 
discovering that he could cross at Shallow Ford, 
Cornwallis put his army in motion on the 5th and 
crossed at that point on the evening of the 6th.* 

*NoTE. I follow General Graham in preference to Johnson as to 
the last two dates. Tarleton says it was on the 6th, but Graham, who 
was in their rear, says it was the 5th. 


Greene had already sent forward Colonel Car- 
rington and Captain John Smith, of the Maryland 
line, to secure the boats on the Dan and provide all 
possible facilities for crossing that stream, and had 
issued orders to Huger to press forward to Guilford 
Court-House, where a junction of the two armies 
was to take place. General Greene did not move 
from the Trading Ford until the evening of the 
4th of February, 1781. The retirement was orderly 
and deliberate, and was not the " race " which 
some imaginative writers have colored with the 
figures of rhetoric. Greene was master of his own 
movements, and forced Cornwallis to change his. 

After leaving Trading Ford, General Greene 
moved in a direction nearly north, as if he were 
making for the upper fords of the Dan, and Corn- 
wallis pushed on with great spirit to intercept him 
on the way, but this was a part of the strategy of 
the American General, whose original purpose was 
to cross the Dan River lower down in ferry-boats. 

At the forks of Abbott's Creek, a few miles from 
Salem (in Forsyth County now), he halted the 
army to obtain definite information as to the move- 
ments of the British, and then turning due east, 
he marched to Guilford Court-House, where he 
made the junction with his army, under General 
Huger, on the loth of February. 

On the 8th of February Greene had hoped to be 
able to fight Cornwallis at Guilford Court-House, 
where he formed a junction with his main army, and 
on that day addressed earnest proclamations to the 


militia to turn out and meet him there, and couriers 
were sent to Hillsboro to bring up a few troops who 
were left there, and further supplies of ammunition. 
As soon as Greene arrived at Guilford Court-House 
he began to reconnoitre the grounds and adjacent 

"It was at this time that the celebrated position 
was selected, which directed the steps of Greene to 
this point a month after, when he found it advisa- 
ble to give the enemy a challenge to battle ; so 
truly did he exemplify the military maxim, that 
4 a good general will fight only when and where he 

But Greene was disappointed. The militia did 
not turn out with the alacrity that he expected, 
nor had the recruits and ammunition from Hills- 
boro arrived. About 200 of the Guilford militia, 
under Colonel James Martin, including the com- 
pany under Captain Arthur Forbis, were, perhaps, 
the only reinforcements that responded to the call. 
As a reason for not having more men, Colonel 
Martin says "that guns were wanting by a num- 
ber of the militia, and that he had to impress all 
he could to arm the few militia that did assemble." 
These men marched with Greene to the Dan and 
about half of them crossed the Dan into Virginia, 
as volunteers, and subsequently returned with him 
and participated in the battle at that place. 

Greene called a council of war at Guilford Court- 
House and submitted to it the question of further 

*Jolmson, vol. i, p. 425. 


retreat or giving battle where they were. The 
council was unanimous that the army should retreat 
across the Dan. The returns of the army at that 
time showed that Greene had, of rank and file, of 
all arms, only 2036 men; of these 1426 were regu- 
lars. The Virginia militia, whose time had expired, 
were already discharged. The force of Cornwallis 
was ascertained to be 3000, all regulars, in the 
highest state of discipline and equipment. It is 
said that Greene would have risked a battle if he 
could have collected 1500 militia. He writes that 
retreat would depress the Whigs and encourage the 
Tories, and he believed, with his splendid cavalry, 
in which arm of the service he had great confidence, 
that he could prevent a route of his army in any 
event ; he also expressed great sympathy for Meck- 
lenburg and Rowan counties, which he desired to 
protect from the ravages of the enemy. 

The resolution to retreat was, however, adopted, 
and General Greene made his dispositions accord- 
ingly. The Dan was to be crossed at Irwiii's Ferry, 
seventy (70) miles from G nil ford Court-House, and 
Colonel Carrington was sent to secure all the boats 
and make every preparation necessary for the army 
to cross. 

" The route of retreat being determined, the place 
of crossing designated and measures taken for the 
collection of boats, General Greene formed a light 
corps, consisting of some of his best infantry, under 
Lieutenant Colonel Howard, of Washington's 
cavalry, the Legion of Lee, and a few militia rifle- 


men" (most probably the Guilford men who joined 
-Greene at the court-house), " making in all seven 
hundred. The troops were to take post between 
the retreating and advancing army, to hover around 
the skirts of the latter, to seize every opportunity 
of striking in detail, and to retard the enemy by 
vigilance and judicious positions; while Greene, 
with the main body, hastened towards the Dan, the 
boundary of his present toils and dangers."' 

General Morgan, who was at that time prostrated 
with a severe attack of rheumatism, contracted in 
his late retreat by exposure to wet and cold, was 
offered the command of these light troops, but was 
reluctantly compelled to decline the honor. His 
sufferings at the Catawba River were intense, often 
compelling him to abandon duty and seek comfort 
in a bed or an ambulance. He had in former years 
suffered greatly from this painful malady, and it 
had now returned upon him with more distressing 
symptoms. He had not only to refuse this com- 
mand, but to retire, by slow and easy marches, 
taking rests by the way at the hospitable homes of 
his friends, to his own home in the western part of 

There was no man in Greene's army, or perhaps 
in the whole service, so fitted to command such a 
force, in the execution of the duty assigned them, 
as Morgan, and there was no associate of General 
Greene's who so entirely possessed his confidence 
and enjoyed his friendship. 

*Lee's Memoirs, p. 236. 

( 2 5 S ) 

Greene, not being well acquainted with the mode 
of warfare on the frontiers and in the South, was 
greatly dependent on Morgan for advice and coun- 
sel in this respect, and the splendid achievement 
at Cowpcns and the masterly retreat to the Catawba, 
had so impressed General Greene with the pre-emi- 
nent abilities of Morgan that he leaned upon him, 
in this hour of need and this crisis in the affairs of 
the country, as a brother and a friend. His distress 
and disappointment was strongly manifested when 
General Morgan communicated to him the condi- 
tion of his health and his determination to retire 
temporarily from service. In the sequel it will be 
seen that Morgan's heart was still' with his friend, 
and that he wrote him letters containing valuable 
suggestions, upon which General Greene did him 
the honor to act. 

Upon Morgan's declining this important com- 
mand, it was tendered to and accepted by Colonel 
Otho Williams, of the Maryland line. 

In order to deceive Cornwallis, who was then at 
Salem, about twenty-five miles west of Gnilford 
Court-House, Williams made a sudden movement 
north as if to secure the upper fords of the Dan 
and cross them in front of the British army. The 
British commander, mistaking this detachment for 
the main body of the American army, hastened for- 
ward to cut it off from escape by these fords into 
the mountains of Virginia, which he supposed they 
were endeavoring to reach for safety. In the 
meantime, Greene, with the remainder of the army, 


marched rapidly to Irwiii's Ferry, according to his 
original design, and crossed the Dan in safety. 

The strategy was completely successful, and 
Williams now changed his course, and annoying 
the advance of the enemy, which camped in sight 
of him every night, he finally reached the vicinity 
of the Dan on the izj-th day of February, and having 
received the joyful news that Greene had crossed 
that day, Williams, leaving his camp-fires burning, 
stole away from Cornwallis, who reached the bank 
of the river on the next day, the I5th, only to see 
the last of Williams' command ascending the hill 
on the opposite side. 

The 1 5th February, 1781, found Greene and his 
united army at the end of their long and toilsome 
retreat, and with an impassable barrier between 
him and his adversary. Cornwallis, crest-fallen, 
outwitted and desperate, knew not what to do. His 
subsequent movements manifest indecision, want 
of purpose and a knowledge of the great danger in 
which he was placed by the Fabian tactics of his 
wily antagonist. He was in an enemy's country, 
his winter supplies all burned, the militia were 
" swarming in his rear," recruits were increasing 
Greene's army, his base of supply was far away 
and his foe refused to fight until he selected his own 
time and place. A beleaguered situation indeed ! 


Greene on the Dan Cornwallis at Hillsboro General Andrew 
Pickens, of South Carolina, selected by a Brigade' of North 
Carolina Militia at Shallow Ford, to lead Them Movements of 
General Richard Caswell with the Militia in the East "Coun- 
cil Extraordinary," its Acts General John Butler's Move- 
ments Major Craig, of the British Army, enters Wilmington 
January the 29th, 1781 Letter of Govern or Abner Nash Greene 
Recrosses the Dan February 23d, 1781 Graham's Dash at Hart's 
Mill Pyle's Defeat, 25th February, 1781 Affair at Whitsill's 
Mill, March 6th Lieutenant Colonel Webster's Marvelous 
Escape from Death Reinforcements Reach General Greene 
at High Rock Ford, on Haw River, Sunday, March the nth, 

r^HE final conclusion of Cornwallis was to march 
"*" to Hillsboro, then the capital of the State, and 
the recent headquarters of the American army, at 
that time quite an important place. It was also 
in easy distance of the Scotch settlements, whose 
inhabitants were generally loyalists or neutrals in 
the fight. 

His lordship, after taking one day of repose, 
began his march on the i8th to Hillsboro, where 
he "raised the royal standard," and invited, by 
his proclamation, "all liege subjects to prove their 
fidelity by contributing their aid in restoring the 
blessings of peace and order in their convulsed 

"In the camp of Greene," says Lee, "joy beamed 
on every face, as if every man was conscious of 

*Lee's Memoirs, p. 251. 


having done his duty ; the subsequent days to the 
reunion of the army on the north of the Dan were 
spent in mutual gratulations; with the rehearsal 
of the hopes and fears which agitated every breast 
during the retreat, interspersed with the many 
simple but interesting anecdotes with which every 
tongue was strung." 

But Greene relaxed no vigilance nor neglected 
any precaution against surprise. The waving of 
a handkerchief by a patriotic lady on the North 
Carolina bank of the river announced the retro- 
grade movement of Cormvallis. Major Pierce, of 
General Greene's staff, with a select party, were 
sent to recounoiter and give intelligence, while 
Colonel Williams and Colonel Campbell, two emi- 
nent North Carolina militia officers, with their 
faithful adherents on horseback, patroled and 
guarded the passes, and Otho Williams, with his 
light troops, were thrown across the stream to 
harass his lordship's retreat."" 5 

Leaving the two contending armies watching 
each other, and preparing for the conflict, which 
must sooner or later occur, it is necessary to nar- 
rate events transpiring elsewhere in North Caro- 
lina which influenced, to a great degree, the subse- 
quent results of the unfinished campaign. 

The militia, who had defended the fords of the 
Catawba, had made good their retreat tt> the Rocky 
River, a western tributary of the Yadkin, which 
traverses from west to east the present county of 

*Johnson's Life of Greene, vol. i, p. 448. 


Cabarrus, North Carolina, but which at that time was 
a part of Mecklenburg Count} 7 . They were advised 
as to the location of the British army, and Captain 
Joseph Graham, who had been sent to reconnoiter, 
followed in its rear; but beyond the capture of 
half a dozen stragglers, and killing a Tory or two in 
arms, was not able to do more than gather infor- 

About the loth of February the militia were in 
camp near Shallow Ford, on the Yadkin. General 
Davidson had been killed, and "no small conten- 
tion" had arisen between the different colonels of 
the regiments as to the seniority of their commis- 
sions and their right to command. But this con- 
tention, hot as it was, did not lead to a separation. 
The fervent patriotism of these brave men rose 
above self and State, and the difficulty w r as happily 
and generously settled by electing Andrew Pickens, 
of South Carolina, who had recently been appointed 
Brigadier General, to the command. Pickens was 
at that time a refugee in North Carolina, accom- 
panied by not exceeding forty (40) South Caroli- 
nians and Georgians ; among the latter was Lieu- 
tenant Jackson, afterwards Governor of that State. 

Lieutenant Jackson was appointed Brigade Major. 
Rev. James. Hall, then of Rowan, was selected as 
chaplain. "The only infantry in the brigade was 
placed under the command of Colonel Locke of 
Rowan County, and Major John Caruth of Lincoln 
County." This statement is taken from General 

( 2 6 3 ) 

Graham's narrative, written in 1821, and he adds a 
note in which he says: 

u This circumstance (the election of Pickens to the 
command) lias occasioned every professed writer of his- 
tory to represent these troops as South Carolina militia, 
whereas thc\ were simply the brigade of Davidson, from 
Mecklenburg and Rowan, the field officers of which 
conferred the command on General Pickens, who was 
with them as a refugee, to avoid conflicting claims of 
rank among themselves, there not being forty South 
Carolinians in the body of 700 men." 

The Tor}- bullet that killed General Davidson, 
the absence of General Rutherford, who "was a 
prisoner, and the magnanimity of the North Caro- 
lina soldiers coincided to place General Pickens in 
command of a full regiment of splendid troops, who 
followed him with unswerving devotion in the short 
but brilliant campaign which followed. 

This organization being completed, the brigade 
marched, via Salem, toGnilford Court-House, where, 
"learning that Greene had passed the Dan and 
Cormvallis had retired to Hillsboro, they moved 
slowly towards the enemy." 

General Caswell was now engaged in calling out 
the militia in the middle and eastern part of the 
State and had succeeded in collecting a considerable 
force with which he was threatening the left flank 
of Cormvallis. General Greene was, at this period, 
apprehensive that Cormvallis would march into 
Virginia by way of Halifax, Xorth Carolina, cross- 

( 2 6 4 ) 

ing the Roanoke at that place. Kosciusko had 
been sent to that point to throw up breastworks 
and General Greene was resolved to prevent the 
enemy getting possession of that town if possible. 
"Being accessible from the ocean, having a very 
fertile country around it, convenient to Chesapeake 
and possessing the only manufactories in the State, 
it was too strong a military point to surrender 
without a struggle."* As we have but little informa- 
tion in regard to the whereabouts of General Caswell 
when the battle of Guilford Court-House was fought, 
a month later, I am of opinion that he was at 
Halifax for the defence of that place, to which 
General Greene was so anxiously looking. I find 
the following order from Governor Abner Nash to 
General Caswell, in the 4th volume of the Uni- 
versity Magazine, which throws considerable light 
on the movements of troops in North Carolina 
during February and March, 1781: 

"NEWBERN, February 23d, 1781. 

"Major General Caswell will march the detachment of 
militia now assembled and assembling to Halifax, or to 
such other parts as the motions of the enemy or the 
exigency of the public affairs may require. He will also 
take such measures for posting these, as well as the 
militia of Halifax district, in such a manner and fortify 
in such places as he shall deem best for the public security. 
He will take such order respecting the militia, in Hills- 
boro and the other western districts, as shall seem 
expedient. The General will also, on his arrival at 

*Johnson's Life of Greene, vol, i. p. 434. 

Halifax, call on the other members of the "Council 
Extraordinary" to meet, and he will pursue such further 
steps as may be concluded on by the said council, for the 
further operations of the militia against the enemy. 
General Lillington having the command of the militia 
in the district of Wilmington, and there being no occa- 
sion for the presence of any other general officer there, 
Brigadier General Caswell* will serve in the army to the 
westward and take his orders from the Major General, 
who will also commission the officers for the Light Horse 
corps in such way (agreeable to the resolve of the General 
Assembly) as he shall deem best for the public service. 

"The General will endeavor to have General Butler 
supplied with ammunition as speedily as possible, and 
he is earnestly requested to send forward, with dispatch, 
any important intelligence he may receive respecting the 
motions of the enemy. 

"A. NASH." 

It is more than probable that Caswell, as Major 
General, detached General Butler and General 
Eaton, with their brigades, to the assistance of 
General Greene (as the}^ were at Gnilford Court- 
Honse) and remained himself in the command of 
the eastern part of the State, with Halifax as head- 
quarters. This is in accord with the general scope 
of Greene's plan for preventing the invasion of 
Virginia by that route. 

It is much to be lamented that General Caswell 
did not have sufficient sagacity to place these 
brigades under the command of some one of the 

*He \vas the son of (iovcrnor Caswell. 

numerous Continental soldiers, from Washington's 
army, who were then in the State. It was the 
appointment of General Stevens, of Virginia, to 
command her militia, that caused that particular 
brigade in her service to do such noble work at 
Guilford Court-House. But Governor Caswell had 
more genius for the forum than for the field; in 
the former he was foremost in zeal and devotion to 
American liberty, but as a soldier he obtained but 
few honors on the field of battle. There was a 
jealousy in the minds of the militia against the 
veterans, and Caswell seems to have shared in it to 
a great degree. 

General Greene was anxious that Brigadier 
General Jethro Sumner, of Warren, who had greatly 
distinguished himself in the New Jersey campaign 
under Washington, should command the North 
Carolina troops who were to join him, and wrote to 
General Sumner suggesting that he should make 
this known to General Caswell. 

In a letter from General Sumner to General 
Greene, dated February 24th, 1781, he says: 

"I received yours of the loth inst. on the 2ist, and 
immediately, through Major Hawkins, aid to Major 
General Caswell, I proffered my assistance and sent 
expresses to Lieutenant Colonel Ashe and Major Mur- 
free, who, by the temporary arrangement of the officers 
of the North Carolina line, present in the State, were to 
take charge of two of the regiments, to acquaint them 
without delay that it was your wish that they join the 
militia camp to render such assistance as may be in their 


power. * I await General Caswell's sentiments 

respecting myself. However, since I wrote him, I am 
informed by Major Eaton* that General Jonesf is 
desirous that I take charge of the brigade of Halifax, 
which I believe will amount to 1500 or 1800 men. I 
shall make it my business to see General Jones to-morrow 
and shall, if I have* the offer of that brigade, inform you. 
I am satisfied it will meet the approbation of the great 
majority of the officers and soldiers of that brigade I 
mean as a Continental officer, who, two years ago, the 
militia were very averse to." 

The information alluded to was that " General 
Jones was sick and compelled to return home, and 
that he would have been exceedingly happy to have 
given the command of his brigade to you (Stunner) 
provided he had continued with it, but as he is 
obliged to return, the command devolves on General 
Eaton ,J who insists on taking it." 

The services of General Sunnier \verenotaccepted 
and there is some ground for believing that the} 
were repelled with circumstances calculated tc 
offend that gallant and distinguished officer. 

On the nth March, General Simmer writes 
Governor Abner Nash : 

"Second thoughts are often best ; therefore, I nov* 
write under apprehension that my attending you, when 
General Caswell may be, will be injurious to my char 
acter, and perhaps hurtful to his. For my part, I declan 

*Pinkethan Eaton. 
tWillie Jones. 
jThomas Eaton. 


that I wish to render service to my country at this alarm- 
ing crisis. Believe me, I only wish to have no enemy." 

Neither the expressed wishes of General Greene 
nor the" desires of the Governor prevailed. Caswell 
seems to have been inexorable. Neither Suinner, 
Ashe nor Murfree were given commands, but the 
militia were left under inexperienced officers in this 
great crisis of the State, when discipline and military 
skill were so essentially necessary to success. It is 
useless to conjecture what might have been the result 
at Guilford Court-House if the North Carolina 
militia had been commanded by Sumner and Ashe, 
as the Virginians were by General Stevens. We 
can only regret that such a patriot as Governor 
Caswell should have been so narrow and contracted 
in his views and so obstinate in maintaining them. 

The Legislature of North Carolina met at Halifax 
the 1 8th day of January, 1781, and directed their 
attention at once to the defence of the State. " Bills 
were passed for giving greater efficiency to the 
militia and for the reorganization of the Continental 
battalions; the latter, nominally six, were reduced 
to four and provision made for speedily filling up 
the ranks to the proper complement." " The Board 
of War" was discontinued. By an extraordinary 
stretch of authority, whose only palliations were 
the crisis and the purity of their motives, they 
established a "Council Extraordinary," to consist 
of three persons of integrity and abilities such as 
the General Assembly can have the greatest confi- 

( 2 6 9 ) 

deuce in, and invested the actual Governor, Nash, 
and this council, with the powers of government, 
"after the expiration of his, Nash's, official term," 
provided the invasion of the enemy should prevent 
the holding of elections and the meeting of the 
Assembly at the usual time. After thus guarding 
against the chances of war, the Assembly closed 
the session February i4th, 1781. 

The "Council Extraordinary," newly created, 
consisted of General Richard Caswell of Lenoir 
County, Colonel Alexander Martin of Guilford 
County, and Mr. Bignal of Newbern. This 
"Council Extraordinary" succeeded to all the 
powers of the recent u Board of War " and " Coun- 
cil of State," and was required to keep a journal. 

This renewed expression of confidence in Colonel 
Martin is evidence of his constancy and fidelity to 
the cause of independence. He may not have been 
adapted by nature to the duties of a soldier, but 
his fidelity as a citizen and civilian were never 

I have not been able to trace the history of Mr. 

The formation of this "Council Extraordinary" 
was analogous to the action of. South Carolina, 
Which had clothed Governor Rutlege with dictato- 
rial powers: "inter arma leges silent" Happily 
for the State these powers were not abused. It was 
to this "Council Extraordinary" that Governor 
Nash alludes in his order to General Caswell, and 
which, it seems, was about to assemble at Halifax. 


In the meantime, on the 29th day of January, 
1781, Major James H. Craig, with an English force, 
took possession of Wilmington. Greene no doubt 
had some intimation of this movement before it 
was made, but supposed it was to be under the 
command of Arnold, and attended with the atrocities 
which characterized his expedition into Virginia. 
Cornwallis, of course, was cognizant of this part of 
the plan of invasion into North Carolina, and ex- 
pected to open a communication with Major Craig, 
through the loyalists of the Cape Fear, who 
abounded in that region, though they had not em- 
bodied to any considerable extent since the battle 
of Moore's Creek. They were waiting the advent 
of the British army, and, for the present, contenting 
themselves with predatory excursions here and 
there in that region. 

The American troops had suffered painfully in 
their long marches through the mud and ice of a 
dreary winter, more severe than usual at this 
period. The Maryland line, which had been ex- 
posed without tents ever since Morgan left Char- 
lotte in December, and which had now been in 
retreat from the i;th day of January to the i5th 
of February, were the greatest sufferers. After 
Greene crossed the Dan an inspection of the line 
showed 86 1 men fit for duty, and 274 in the hospitals. 

General Greene writes Washington a doleful 
account of the condition of the army. We copy it : 


"IRWIN'S FERRY, Feb. i5th, 1781. 
- u The miserable situation of the troops, for want of 
clothing, has rendered the march the most painful im- 
aginable, many hundreds of the soldiers tracking the 
ground with their bloody feet. Your feelings for the 
sufferings of the soldier, had you been with us, would 
have been severely tried." 

How little does the average reader appreciate the 
privations and exposures of the soldier ! They 
turn from it with impatience to listen to the tale 
of combat and the shout of victory, and, too often, 
amid the comforts of home, are disposed to criticise 
the errors of the field. The endurance and forti- 
tude of these soldiers are as noble evidences of their 
true manhood as their most splendid exploits on 
the field of battle. Under excitement one may be 
nerved to deeds of daring, but to submit to priva- 
tion and nakedness and hunger, in the cheerless 
inactivity of a bivouac, requires the sternest stuff 
that men are ever made of. 

On* the i yth the report exhibited, of men fit for 
duty: infantry, 1078, artillery 64, cavalry 176, 
Legionary infantry 112 1430 in all. 

It would be a story too tedious and vexatious to 
recount all the perplexities of General Greene at 
this time. Arnold had invaded Virginia and plun- 
dered Richmond; the whole State was in terror at 
his approach, and the reinforcements intended for 
Greene's army were diverted to the James River. 
The militia of eastern North Carolina were march- 


ing to the assistance of their neighboring State, 
Finally, when the Baron Stenben had organized 
400 regulars, under Colonel Richard Campbell, and 
2()(,o militia, and had them on their way to camp, 
the whole militia turned back on a false rumor that 
Cormvallis had retreated to Wilmington, and only 
Campbell persevered in the march and reached 

Maryland had early adopted the policy of enlist- 
ing for the war, and to that fact may be assigned 
the splendid heroism of her troops in the South. 
Virginia and North Carolina only partially adopted 
this policy, and the Continental line of the latter 
was now in prison, and the militia of both States 
being generally called out for six weeks, spent one- 
third of this time in getting to camp and the other 
two-thirds in calculating the day of their return. 
They came without drilling or discipline, with 
only ordinary guns, without bayonets or equip- 
ments, and were a poor match for veteran soldiers, 
armed and equipped for battle. It was this short- 
sighted policy that prolonged the struggle for inde- 
pendence, and for a long time held the event of it 
in doubt. Colonel Lee very truthfully remarks 
that the exposure of such undisciplined troops to 
the attack of trained soldiers was murder. The 
riflemen of the mountains, the volunteers of King's 
Mountain and Cowpens, were not of this class, and 

*Richard Campbell was afterwards killed at P^utaw, and must not 
be confounded with Colonel William Campbell, who commanded at 
King's Mountain. 

we will discover Greene's mistake in supposing that 
the ordinary militia could be depended on like 
these highland hunters. 

As soon as General Stevens had conveyed the 
Cowpens prisoners to a place of safety he joined 
Greene's army, and being authorized to raise troops 
for six weeks' service, soon raised 1000 men from 
the counties in Virginia around Greene's camp. 
With the reinforcement of Colonel Richard Camp- 
bell's regulars and Stevens' militia, and the brigade 
of North Carolinians under Pickens, Greene deter- 
mined to recross the Dan, and on the 23d day of 
February he entered North Carolina again. This 
was three days after Cornwallis entered Hillsboro. 
His lordship was greatly encouraged by the num- 
bers of men who flocked to Hillsboro from curiosity 
or for gain, and he offered "guineas and lands to 
those who would enlist under his banner ;" but it was 
only a day or two subsequent that he sorrowfully 
wrote to the British ministry that he was " sur- 
rounded by timid friends and inveterate enemies." 
His lordship also did the region of Orange and 
Guilford counties the distinguished honor of de- 
claring, "I could not get one hundred men in all 
the Regulators' country to stay with us even as 
militia."* It was another " Hornet's Nest " his 
lordship had gotten into. There was one regiment 
of the British army under Colonel Hamilton, form- 
erly of Halifax, North Carolina, called the North 
Carolina regiment, but it was like the street in 

*Cornwallis to Clinton, April loth, 1781. 



Damascus, only called straight. This regiment was 
formed at St. Augustine, Florida, from renegades 
who came in from every quarter, and with but a 
small proportion from North Carolina. Colonel 
Hamilton, however, was an English gentleman of 
culture and refinement, and was honorable and 
brave as a soldier, never allowing his troops to 
plunder or murder. He was for years English 
Consul at Norfolk, after the revolution. 

Before Greene recrossed the Dan, Colonel Otho 
Williams, with the same detachment which was 
placed under him to cover the retreat, was pushed 
forward with orders to hang on the enemy's flanks 
and watch his movements, and if the British army 
started for Wilmington, to harass and retard its 
march. Lee and Washington, with their cavalry, 
were also directed to watch every opportunity to 
strike the enemy and overawe any rising of Tories 
in the lower settlements. General Butler was, at this 
time, marching up the Cape Fear with his brigade 
of militia, and at one time Lee thought of joining 
him and making a sudden attack on the British. 

General Pickens did not remain idle, and, as we 
stated, had marched with his North Carolina brigade 
of infantry, under Colonel Locke of Rowan, and 
cavalry under Graham, towards Hillsboro in search 
of adventure, and with him was McCall of South 
Carolina, with about thirty cavalry and a few Geor- 
gians. Cornwallis was scarcely encamped at Hills- 
borq before Pickens' command was hovering around 
him in sight of the town. On reaching Stony 
Creek, ten miles from Hillsboro, General Pickens 

( 2 7 5 ] 

sent Captain Graham iorward with twenty cavalry 
and twenty infantry, under Captain Richard Sim- 
mons, to examine the position of the enemy and to 
strike a blow if practicable. Captain Graham 
discovered a detachment of British soldiers, num- 
bering twenty-five men, at Hart's Mill, on the Eno, 
one mile and a half from Hillsboro. He concealed 
himself for the night, and as soon as it was light 
enough for the riflemen to see the sights on their 
guns, he made a sudden onset upon them, taking 
them entirely by surprise, and captured their cap- 
tain, sixteen privates of the regulars and two Tories. 
One sergeant and eight privates were left on the 
ground killed or wounded. This was a brilliant 
opening for the Whigs, and threw the British camp 
into consternation for awhile. The whole of Tarle- 
ton's cavalry were paraded and sent in pursuit, but 
in vain. Captain Graham baffled his pursuers and 
reached the camp in safety. Judge Johnson falls 
again into an egregious error in ascribing this coup 
de main to Captain McCall of his own State, when 
in fact he was ten miles from the scene. This is a 
second glaring injustice done to North Carolina; 
for this success, though comparatively small, was 
greatly commended by General Greene and caused 
rejoicing all around the camp. It was a gem of a 
skirmish, and shone brightly, if not with extended 
effulgence. In reflecting on these injustices done 
one State by another, we cannot refrain from quot- 
ing from Judge Johnson himself the tacit acknowl- 
edgment of his fault. He says : 


".There is and perhaps ought to be a clannish spirit 
in the States of the Union which will ever dispose the 
writers they produce to blazon, with peculiar zeal, the 
virtues and talents of the eminent men of their respective 
States. It is a tendency so natural to man that religion, 
the retirement of the cloister and the barefooted friar, 
who has renounced the world, acknowledge its influence 
in exaggerated eulogies on a patron saint or beatified 
brother. And it will probably happen that, in future 
times, the States that have produced the ablest ivriters 
ivill enjoy the reputation of having produced the ablest 
statesmen, generals and orators" 

South Carolina did not lack for an "able writer" 
or a " clannish spirit " in the distinguished biogra- 
pher of General Greene. 

Graham and his men had just tumbled down for 
a little rest after this arduous duty, when they were 
startled by the cry, "Tarleton's coming!" The 
whole camp was astir in a moment and put in readi- 
ness to receive the charge; when, to their great 
joy, it was discovered to be Colonel Harry Lee and 
his cavalry, who had started to surprise this same 
detachment at Hart's Mill.* 

On the night of the 2ist of February, General 
Greene, attended by a small escort of dragoons, 
crossed the Dan and visited Pickens and Lee to 
confer with them as to the future movements of 
the army and the proper measures to annoy the 
enemy. Having spent the greatest part of the 
night in anxious consultation, Pickens and Greene 

*Graham, in University Magazine. 

" wrapped up in their cloaks and shared tne same 
blanket in a refreshing nap." 

Pickens being the superior officer, was given the 
command of Lee's Legion as well as his own 
brigade, as one corps, and both officers were 
exhorted to harmony and good will. This visit 
was another of Greene's bold enterprises, which to 
us, at this day, appears almost reckless, yet, as he 
returned safely next morning, we must admit he 
did not err in his calculations. 

About the aistor 22d February, General Pickens 
was apprised of the advance of Colonel John Preston 
and Colonel William Campbell (he of King's Moun- 
tain fame) with a reinforcement to join his command, 
and on the next day perhaps, for we cannot fix the 
exact days, the General also was informed that 
Tarleton, with his cavalry, four hundred infantry 
and two pieces of artillery, had left Hillsboro in the 
direction of Haw River to the west. 

Being apprehensive that Tarleton would fall in 
with these approaching reinforcements, and feeling 
strong enough now to cope with him, Pickens 
called in his forces and set out in pursuit of Tarleton. 

They found he had crossed the Haw River, and 
at noon of the 25th of February, they were so near 
to him as to capture two of his officers who had 
lingered behind, and while eager in the pursuit, 
and with even the order of attack arranged, a most 
singular occurrence happened, which defeated all 
their ardent hopes of destroying this ''scourge " 
of the British arnry. As Johnson says that Lee's 


account of " Pyle's Defeat," sometimes termed 
" Pyle's Massacre," is inaccurate and fanciful, I will 
do as I have done before give the unvarnished story 
as it is related by Joseph Graham, who prepared it 
for Judge Murphy, to be incorporated into a history 
of North Carolina. Resuming the narrative at the 
junction of Lee's force with Pickens, he writes: 

"The whole army moved a few miles and encamped 
at an adjacent farm for the night. The next day it was in 
motion, in different directions, nearly the whole day ; 
but did not go far, beating down nearer Hillsboro. The 
two corps kept near each other, though they moved and 
camped separately, as they had done the previous evening. 
Reconnoitering parties, which were sent out in the 
evening and had returned in the night, gave notice of a 
detachment passing from Hillsboro towards the ford on 
Haw River. 

"Pickens and Lee put their forces in motion at an early 
hour, and came into the great road eight miles west of 
Hillsboro,- near Mebane's farm. 

"The whole of the militia cavalry, seventy in number, 
that had swords, were placed under Captain Graham, 
and in the rear of Lee's horse. Such of Graham's men 
as had not swords were ordered to join another company. 
They followed the enemy's trail on the road to Haw 
River, with the cavalry in front. 

"During the whole day's march every man expected a 
battle and hard fighting. Men's countenances on such 
occasions indicate something which can be understood 
better than described in words. The countenances of 
the whole militia, throughout the day, never showed 


" Lee states (page 311) that Pyle's men, on seeing the 
militia in the rear of his cavalry, recognized and fired on 

' ' The true statement of this is, that Major Dickson, of 
Lincoln, who commanded the column on our right 
(when the disposition for attack had been made at the 
last farm), had been thrown out of his proper order of 
march by the fences and a branch, and when Pyle's men 
were first seen by the militia they were thought to be 
the party under Dickson, which had come round the 
plantation and gotten in the road before them. On 
coming within twenty steps of them, Captain Graham 
discovered the mistake ; seeing them with cleaner clothes 
than Dickson' s party, and each man having a strip of 
red cloth on his hat. Graham, riding alongside of Cap- 
tain Eggleston, who commanded the rear of Lee's horse, 
remarked to him : "That company are Tories. What is 
the reason they have their arms?" Captain Eggleston, 
addressing a good-looking man at the end of the line, 
supposed to be an officer, inquired, "To whom do you 
belong?'' The man promptly answered, " A friend to 
his majesty." Whereupon Captain Eggleston struck 
him over the head. The militia looking on and waiting 
for orders, on this example being set, rushed on them 
like lightning and cut away. The noise in the rear 
attracted the notice of Lee's men, and they turned their 
horses short to the right about five steps, and in less 
than a minute the attack was made along the whole line. 
The same page* states that ninety loyalists were killed. 
The next day our militia counted ninety-three dead, and 
there was the appearance of many more being carried 
off by their friends. There were certainly many more 

*Referring to Lee's Memoirs. 


wounded. When Lee and Pickens retired, it appeared 
as if three hundred might be lying dead. Many, per- 
haps, were only slightly wounded and lay quietly for 

"At the time the action commenced, Lee's dragoons, 
in the open order of inarch, extended about the same 
distance with Pyle's men, who were in close order, and 
on horseback ; and most of them having come from 
home on that day, were clean, like men who now turn 
out to a review. Lee's movement was as if he were 
going to pass them five or six steps on the left of their 
line. When the alarm was given in the rear, as quickly 
as his men could turn their horses, they were engaged ; 
and as the Tories were over two to one of our actual 
cavalry, by pressing forward they went through their 
line, leaving a number behind them. The continual 
cry by the Tories was, 'You are killing your own men ! 
I am a friend to his majesty. Hurrah for King George !' 
Finding their professions of loyalty, and all they could 
say were of no avail, and only the signal for their destruc- 
tion, twelve or fifteen of those whom Lee's men had 
gone through, and who had thrown down their guns, 
now determining to sell their lives as dearly as possible, 
jumped to their arms and began to fire in every direc- 
tion, making the cavalry give back a little. But as soon 
as their guns were empty, they were charged upon on 
every side by more than could get at them, and cut 
down in a group together. All the harm done by their 
fire was that a dragoon's horse was shot down. Falling 
very suddenly, and not moving* afterwards, the rider's 
leg was caught under him, and by all his efforts he could 
not extricate himself, until the action began to slacken, 
when two of his comrades dismounted and rolled the 

( 2 8i) 

horse off him. Lee's men had so recently come to the 
South that they did not understand the usual marks of 
distinction between Whig and Tory, and after the first 
onset, when all became mixed, they inquired of each 
man, before they attacked him, to whom he belonged. 
The enemy readily answered, 'To King George.' To 
many of their own militia they put the same question. 
Fortunately no mistakes occurred, though in some 
instances there was great danger of it. 

"At the close of the action the troops were scattered 
and mixed through each other completely disorganized. 
General Pickens and Colonel Lee gave repeated orders to 
form, but the confusion was such that their orders were 
without effect. These officers appeared sensible of the 
delicate situation we were in. If Tarleton, who was 
only two or three miles off, with nearly an equal force, 
had come upon us at this juncture, the result must have 
been against us. 

"Lee's men, though under excellent discipline, could 
with difficulty be gotten in order. The commandants 
exhibited great perturbation, until at length Lee ordered 
Major Rudolph to lead off and his dragoons to fall in 
behind them ; Captain Graham received the same order 
as to the militia dragoons, and by the time the line had 
moved a quarter of a mile there was the same order as 
when we met Pyle. Lee himself, while they were form- 
ing, staid in the rear of his own corps and in front of 
Graham's, and ordered one of the sergeants to go directly- 
back and get a pilot from among the Tories, and bring 
him forward without delay. The sergeant in a short 
time returned with a middle-aged man (his name __. 
and he lived near that place), who had received a slight 
wound on the head, and was bleeding freely. The 


sergeant apologized to his Colonel because he could find 
none who were not wounded. Lee asked him several 
questions relative to the roads, farms, water-courses, etc.; 
how O'Neal's plantation (where Tarleton then was) was 
situated : whether open, woods, hilly or level, etc. After 
answering the several questions, and after an interval of 
about a minute, while Lee appeared to be meditating, the 
man addressed him: 'Well, God bless your soul, Mr. 
Tarleton, you have this day killed a parcel of as good 
subjects as ever his Majesty had.' Lee, who at this time 
was not in the humor for quizzing, interrupted him, say- 
ing : ' You d d rascal, if you call me Tarleton I will 
take off your head. I will undeceive you: we are the 
Americans and not the British. I am Lee of the Ameri- 
can Legion, and not Tarleton.' The poor fellow 
appeared chop-fallen."* 

Colonel Pyle and his men were misled by the 
uniforms of Lee's Legion, both his cavalry and 
infantry being dressed in short green coats, with 
other distinctions resembling the uniform of Tarle- 
ton's Legion. 

Pyle, though wounded with many cuts of the 
sabre, crawled into a pond of water, where he con- 
cealed himself and was afterwards rescued by his 
Tory friends and survived. 

In Governor Swain's lecture on the War of the 
Regulation, I find this allusion to Colonel Pyle : 

"The forced requisition of a wagon and team from 

*NoTE. The scene of Pyle's defeat is very near the present town of 
Burlington (formerly "Company Shops"), on the North Carolina 
Railroad, in Alamance County. 

( 2 8 3 ) 

John Pyle, exhibited in our last number, shows the 
severe process which secured his allegiance. His fol- 
lowers, who, with him, rendered such fearful retribution 
in the sanguinary conflict with Pickens and Lee, on the 
25th February, 1781, were fellow-sufferers in the ravages 
of Try on in 1772. - Colonel Pyle was a physician and an 
amiable man, and for faithful and skillful services, ren- 
dered to wounded Whigs at the battle of Cane Creek, a 
few months after his discomfiture on Haw River, was 
pardoned by the executive authority." 

Colonel Pyle had been a Regulator, and, after the 
battle of Alamance, Governor Tryon had impressed 
his wagons and other property. He subsequently 
took the oath of allegiance, and feeling conscienti- 
ously bound by it, became a Tory in the revolution. 
Perhaps many of his followers owed their apostacy 
to the same causes. 

Tarleton was only a mile or two in advance. 
Pickens ordered his column to move forward, and 
about sunset his scouts came in view of the enemy's 
camp, who seemed to be resting in a state of security. 
After a conference it was decided to postpone the 
attack until morning, as the troops were weary with 
marching and hungry for food. Patrols and senti- 
nels were placed in every direction to prevent 
intelligence reaching Tarleton's camp; but during 
the night a messenger reached him from Corn- 
wallis, who had been informed of the movement of 
Pickens. Tarleton was ordered to return to Hills- 
boro in haste. So urgent was the command that 
several couriers had been dispatched with the same 

( 2 8 4 ) 

message. Tarleton obeyed the order by decamping 
at 2 o'clock in the morning and riding with all 
speed towards Hillsboro. Pickens followed, but 
only to get in sight of Tarleton as he entered the 

The sanguinary destruction of Pyle's command 
had the effect of striking terror into the hearts of 
the Tories of Randolph and Chatham, and so com- 
pletely subdued their spirit that they never em- 
bodied again during the war. There were maraud- 
ing parties of banditti who stole and plundered, 
but their forces were never again brought together 
as a military organization. The good name of the 
American troops suffered, even in the estimation of 
their friends, for this bloody slaughter of the Tories ; 
but in extenuation of the fierce passions of that 
hour, it must be remembered that Tarleton had 
been the first to inaugurate this unsparing and 
merciless warfare, the summer before, at the Wax- 
haws, and many of the North Carolinians who 
faced Pyle's command had friends and relatives 
among the slain who were hacked to pieces on 
that unfortunate day. " Tarleton 's Quarters " had 
become a proverb in the American army ; it was 
the watchword of revenge the spirit of memory 
that never slept in the hearts of our people ; by it 
"they nursed their wrath to keep it warm," and, in 
muttering tones around the camp-fires of the 
bivouac, they vowed that vengeance should be 
meted out, "an eye for an eye," when the auspi- 
cious day should come to put their enemies in their 

grasp. Neither discipline, nor authority, nor hu- 
manity could stand before the dreadful wrath which 
the blood of Buford's men had stirred within their 
hearts. " Blood for blood," was the cry of the men 
who that day hacked the Tories, and now and then 
"Tarleton's Quarters" put fresh strength into the 
sabre arm which seemed to grow weary of slaughter 
and death. Buford, too, was a Virginian, and 
Kggleston and Armstrong did not keep their swords 
at rest while the memory of the slaughter was fresh 
in their minds. It was a dreadful day, sickening 
to the heart ; but how many other tales of butchery 
it prevented can only be known by the Omniscient 
One. If Pyle had succeeded in joining Tarleton, 
and Preston, Armstrong and Winston had fallen 
into his hands next day, as he expected, the 
tears would only have been transposed from Tory 
to Whig homes, and the weeeping and lamentations 
would have made patriots, instead of traitors, shud- 
der at the result. Whatever may be said of the 
deed itself, the results were most salutary to the 
American cause, and it may, in this instance, per- 
haps, be claimed that 

" All's well that ends well." 

Tarleton had marched to intercept the detach- 
ments of militia under Preston, Armstrong and 
Winston who were on their way to reinforce 
Pickens ; and the massacre of Pyle's was the fortu- 
nate circumstance, from the British standpoint, 
that prevented the extermination of Tarleton's 
command. Some destiny shaped the ends of this 
bad man so strangely that he seems to have been 


excepted from the just and certain laws of righteous 
retribution. He survived the war, lived to an old 
age, and requited the affection of Cormvallis by 
exposing his errors and magnifying his faults. 

General Greene was again in North Carolina, 
and evidently was making preparation to attack 
Cornwallis or repel his lordship if attacked by him. 
He was expecting reinforcements every day and 
was strong enough already to choose his battle-field 
and the day of battle. In the meantime, he was goad- 
ing and harassing and irritating the British com- 
mander until his enemy was growing obstinate and 
desperate the frame of mind that precedes mistakes 
and destruction.. His foraging parties were cut off, 
his camp insulted, his reinforcements hacked to 
pieces, and even Tarleton and his famous Legion 
were not strong enough to stand before the detach- 
ments sent to annoy him. He was compelled to 
leave his camp at Hillsboro and seek a more friendly 
region. On the 2 6th of February, Cornwallis left 
Hillsboro and marched to Alamance Creek, in what 
is now Alamance County, but was then the south- 
eastern portion of Guilford County. This was a 
little south of west from Hillsboro, a good day's 
journey, and on the direct road to Salisbury. It 
was designed, too, to put Greene in doubt, whether 
the British commander would retrace his steps to 
Salisbury or move suddenly to the Cape Fear and 
fall back on Wilmington. Greene was anxiously 
watching the movement and awaiting impatiently 
the arrival of the North Carolina and Virginia 

( 2 3 7 ) 

brigades of militia, then well on their way to his 
camp, in order that he might resume the offensive 
and defeat either of the movements of the enemy. 
But he was also, as ever, alert to prevent surprise, 
knowing 1 that Cornwallis was in a mad state of 
mind and ready t*o do even a rash act. His orders 
to Otho Williams and Pickens, who commanded the 
two detachments in the front of the British camp, 
the one being on one side of the Alamance Creek, 
the other on the other side, was to be wary and 
watchful and let not the slightest motion of the 
enemy be unobserved. 

Greene was now at his camp at Speedwell Iron 
Works, on the upper waters of Troublesome Creek, 
thirty miles distant. The two brigades of Virginia 
militia Binder Stevens and Laws on, and the two 
brigades of North Carolina militia, were marching 
on a highway, running west, from a point below 
Hillsboro, to join Greene at his camp. The nearest 
point that this road came to the camp of Cornwallis 
was twenty-five or thirty miles, and in a north- 
wardly direction. The command of Williams lay 
between that point and Cornwallis. The roads from 
the camp of Williams and from the camp of Corn- 
wallis to that point intersected each other at 
Whitsill's Mill, which was on the direct route that 
Cornwallis would travel to strike the approaching 
militia. It was soon developed that he was at last 
aroused to energetic action, and that he came to 
Alamance as a crouching spot, from which he might 
pounce upon the prey as it passed, all unconscious 


of danger, as he thought, within the length of his 
spring. If the militia were scattered and the 3000 
arms which they were bringing to camp destroyed, 
Greene would be forced to cross the Dan again and 
North Carolina would be at the mercy of the British 
crown. These were the anxious hopes that agitated 
the bosom of the British commander and brought 
victory to his imagination once more. 

J O 

The line of march of the militia was a hazardous 
one, but General Greene was so much impressed 
with the idea and apprehension that Cornwallis 
would escape, that he resolved that they should 
approach by the nearest route. In order to guard 
against the possibility of their falling a prey to a 
sudden dash from the enemy, General Greene moved 
his .camp down and across Troublesome Creek, 
fifteen miles, and put himself about the same 
distance from Cornwallis. Colonels Williams and 
Pickens \vere between them on the flank of the 
enemy. The American commander was confident 
that Cornwallis could not move without the knowl- 
edge of Williams and Pickens, and that they could 
impede his march until the militia could escape; 
or if Cornwallis forced Williams and Pickens into 
a sudden or precipitate retreat they could fall back 
and join him, and their combined forces could so 
retard the enemy that he could not reach the rein- 
forcements. Greene now waited anxiously at his 
camp, at Boyd's Mill, on Reedy Fork, seven miles 
above Whitsill's Mill, for the event of these several 
dispositions of his troops. 

( 2 8 9 ) 

Cornwallis, in the meantime, maneuvered con- 
stantly, so as to impress Williams with the idea 
that he was about to begin a retreat to Cross Creek 
(now Fayetteville), on the Cape Fear River; but 
on the 6th day of March, when least expected, the 
British commander made a sudden dash north, 
hoping to outstrip Williams to Wlritsill's Mill, on 
Reedy Fork, and passing on ten miles further, and 
directly north, to intercept the train of the Ameri- 
can reinforcements at High Rodk Ford, on the 
Haw River, which ford they would necessarily pass 
on their route to the permanent camp of Greene at 
the Speedwell Iron Works, further up that river 
Cornwallis had scarcely moved out of his camp 
before the intelligence of it reached Williams, who 
was then on his left flank, and the race for Whit- 
sill's Mill was immediately begun. It was "neck 
and neck," on parallel roads Williams flying, with 
his light troops, to the rescue of his friends ; Corn- 
wallis dashing through every obstruction, with 
reckless speed, to reach the prize his heart had so 
anxiously coveted. Williams was unincumbered 
and full of vigor; Cornwallis, though obliged to 
move his trains with his army, was desperate and 
determined. As the patrols and scouts passed from 
the one column to the other, apprising each of the 
advance of his competitor, the race grew more 
animated, the competitors more earnest and resolute ; 
the goal was now getting nearer and the excitement 
greater, when Williams, putting forth his whole 
energy, urged his men to a triumphant speed and 


dashed down the hill and across the Reedy Fork 
as the enemy appeared upon the crest in their rear, 
entering from the other road. 

Williams drew up his forces on the north bank 
of the stream and gave the British a warm recep- 
tion. The enemy was checked; he had failed in 
his purpose to separate Williams from Greene. 

Williams was now in seven miles of Greene, at 
Boyd's Mill, and soon informed him of the occur- 
rences of the day. Sending orders to Williams to 
fall back north, towards the High Rock Ford, on 
Haw River, where he proposed to meet him, General 
Greene at once moved in that direction for the pro- 
tection of the advancing reinforcements. The 
British commander finding that his stratagem had 
not succeeded, fell back to his old encampment. 

The fight at Whitsill's Mill was sharp and 
severe bloody while it lasted. 

Lee, in his Memoirs, relates the thrilling story 
of Colonel Webster's almost miraculous escape in 
the skirmish :* 

"The British van appeared, and after a halt for a few 
minutes on the opposite bank, descended the hill, ap- 
proaching the water, when, receiving a heavy fire of 
musketry and rifles, it fell back, and quickly reascending, 
was rallied on the margin of the bank. Here a field 
officer rode up, and in a loud voice addressed his soldiers, 
then rushed down the hill at their head and plunged 
into the water, our fire pouring upon him. In the 
woods occupied by the riflemen stood an old log school- 

*Lee's Memoirs, p. 266. 

(291 ) 

house, a little to the right of the ford. The mud stuffed 
between the logs had mostly fallen out and the apertures 
admitted the use of the rifle with ease. In this house 
twenty-five (25) select marksmen, of King's Mountain 
militia, were posted by Lee, with orders to forego taking 
any part in the ^general resistance, but to hold them- 
selves in reserve for any particular objects. The lead- 
ing officer, plunging into the water, attracted general 
notice, and the school-house party, recollecting its order, 
singled him out as their mark. The stream being deep 
and the bottom rugged, he advanced slowly, his soldiers 
on'each side of him, and apparently some of them hold- 
ing his stirrup leathers. This select party discharged 
their rifles at him, one by one, each man sure of knock- 
ing him over ; and having reloaded, eight or nine of 
them emptied their guns a second time at the same 
object. Strange to tell, though in a condition so peril- 
ous, himself and horse were untouched ; and having 
crossed the creek, he soon formed his troops and ad- 
vanced upon us." 

In a note Colonel Lee says : 

"The twenty-five riflemen were selected for their 
superior excellence as marksmen. It was no uncommon 
amusement among them to put an apple on the point of 
a ramrod, and holding it in the hand, with the arm 
extended, to permit their comrades, known to be expert, 
to fire at it, when many balls would pass through the 
apple; and yet Lieutenant Colonel Webster, mounted on 
a stout horse, in point-blank shot, slowly moving through 
a deep water-course, was singled out by this party, who 
fired seriatim thirty- two or thirty-three times at him 
and neither struck him nor his horse." 


This wonderful escape is only equaled by that 
of Washington at Braddock's defeat. It seems 
marvellous, yet we cannot doubt its truth. 

Cornwallis now "withdrew from his camp on 
the Alamance to Bells' Mill, on Deep River," not 
far from where Jamestown now is, u with the reso- 
lution of restoring by rest the strength of his troops, 
and of holding it up for that decisive day which, 
from his knowledge of the character of his adver- 
sary, he was assured would arrive as soon as he 
had acquired his expected reinforcements."* 

The reinforcements, approaching, now continued 
on their way unmolested and reached Greene's 
camp at High Rock Ford, on the Haw River, on 
Sunday, March the nth, lySi.f This was only 
four days before the great battle at Guilford Court- 
House, which I will attempt to describe truthfully 
and impartially in the succeeding chapter. 

*Lee's Memoirs. 

fjohnson's Life of Greene, vol. i, p. 472. 


North Carolinians with Greene at the Battle of " Guilford Court- 
House" Virginians with Him The Troops constituting His 
Regular Army The Number and Character of the Troops 
under Cornwallis Description of the Battle-Ground Descrip- 
tion of the Battle Defence of the North Carolina Militia 
Incidents and Anecdotes of the Battle Results of the Battle 
in its Effect on the Military History of the Country Mr. Ben- 
ton's Review of the Importance of this Battle The Precursor 
of Yorktown The Lesser the Father of thNe Greater Event. 

The battle of Guilford Court-House, fought on 
Thursday, March the I5th, 1781, between the 
American forces under Major General Nathanael 
Greene, and the English forces under Lord Corn- 
wallis, was, in my opinion, second in its results to 
110 battle of the revolutionary war. It was the only 
pitched battle fought on the soil of North Carolina, 
between the two regular contending armies, of any 
magnitude, and for that reason is more conspicuous 
in North Carolina history than any other event of 
that period. 

It has been described by Lee and Campbell, Vir- 
ginians, who participated in it, on the American 
side, and in their respective narratives they have 
severely reflected on the conduct of the North 
Carolina militia, who formed the first, or front line 
of Greene's army, and received the cannonade and 
first fire of the enemy. General Greene, though 
abstaining from the use of harsh language, has 
adopted that account and reported the militia as 

( 294 ) 

delinquent in duty in the fight; and for these rea- 
sons North Carolinians, without investigating the 
correctness of these statements, or considering the 
sources where they originated, or reflecting upon 
the extenuating, if not the justifying, circumstances 
which surrounded these troops, have suffered morti- 
fication at this supposed dereliction of duty on the 
part of their fellow-citizens. 

These statements of Lee and Campbell have been 
repeated so often, and have been so greatly exagger- 
ated by subsequent historians, especially by Johnson 
in his u Life of General Greene," that it seems almost 
presumptuous to question their correctness. It is 
the more embarrassing because our own writers 
have carelessly fallen into this beaten track of error 
and repeated this story literally from others, until 
we are condemned "out of our own mouths." I 
shall not, however, shrink from the task of 
endeavoring to unfold the whole truth of history, 
and to publish important facts and circumstances 
which have either been intentionally or criminally 
suppressed by these historians, who have gone before, 
and also to show that much of the glory of this 
battle belongs to other classes of troops, from North 
Carolina, who participated in it and whose identity, 
as North Carolinians, has been overlooked by histo- 
rians because their names were not on the muster- 
rolls of the regular army, and who, though embodied 
as North Carolina soldiers, w r ere fighting under 
commanders from other States. 

There were three English historians, all soldiers, 
participating in this battle on the side of the crown, 


to-wit, Colonel Tarleton, Colonel Stedman and 
Sergeant Lamb, who have given their account of 
the struggle. Their testimony is entitled to respect, 
especially that of Stedman, whose fairness and 
honesty is admitted by American historians. 

There is another source of information open 
to us in the cotemporaneous literature of that day, 
written by the soldiers engaged in the battle, many 
of them afterwards distinguished in church and 
state, and, last of all, is tradition, coming down to 
us from trustworthy sources. We may add to this 
positive testimony, the natural evidence which is 
always truthful and cannot be neglected by any 
reasonable tribunal investigating truth. 

To all these sources of information I shall appeal 
for truth, and for justice to North Carolina, with 
the confidence that very much, if not all, the odium 
attached, to her militia will vanish away, and that 
the honorable part borne by her other volunteer 
troops, in this battle, shall be established beyond 
cavil or doubt. 

On the loth day of March, 1781, on Saturday 
before the battle, General Greene wrote to Governor 
Jefferson, of Virginia, as follows: 

"Every day has filled me with hopes of an augmen- 
tation of my force ; the militia have flocked in from 
various quarters, but they come and go in such irregular 
bodies that I can make no calculation on the strength of 
my army, or direct any future operations that can insure 
me success. At this time I have not above 800 or 900 
of them in the field. Yet there have been upwards of 

5000 in motion in the course of four weeks. A force, 
fluctuating in this manner, can promise but slender 
hopes of success against an enemy in high discipline, 
and made formidable by the superiority of their num- 
bers. Hithertp I have been obliged to effect that by 
finesse which I dare not attempt by force. I know the 
people have been in anxious suspense, waiting the event 
of a general action. But let the consequence be what 
it may, nothing shall hurry me into a measure that is 
not suggested by prudence, or dictated by the interests 
of the Southern department. 

"General Caswell is on his way with a considerable 
force of the Carolina militia; and Colonel Campbell,* 
with the Virginia regulars, I expect, will be up in a few 
days. When this force arrives, I trust I shall be able to 
prescribe the limits of the enemy's depredations, and at 
least dispose of the arm\' iti such a manner as to incnm- 
ber him with a number of wounded men.' 1 ' 1 ]' 

From this we learn that the militia with Greene 
had recently been as many as 5000 at one time, of 
which number there were less than 1000 Virginians. 

The "finesse" to which Greene alludes was get- 
ting rid of mounted militia, who, Greene alleged, 
consumed the forage of the country and made it 
difficult to support his cavalry. For dispensing 
with this class of troops, who, from long custom in 
that kind of warfare, were, active, rapid and vigi- 
lant, besides being hardy and courageous, General 
Greene has been severely censured. His whole 

*Richard Campbell. 

tjohnson's Life of Greene, vol. r, p. 473. 


correspondence shows in what low esteem he held 
the citizen soldiery, and with what distrust he 
looked upon them. He seems to have made one 
exception, if Johnson is correct. This was General 
Pickens' command of North Carolinians, " on whose 
services he could depend from day to day." 

But it seems, that on that loth day of March, 
there were still 800 or 900 militia with General 
Greene, and as the Virginia reinforcements had not 
reached his camp, and those who w^re with him at 
Halifax had remained behind,* it is to be presumed 
that nearly if not quite all of these militia were 
North Carolinians. These were the men left after 
General Greene had gotten rid of the " mounted 
militia " by finesse, and were no doubt hardy 
infantry and followed the fortunes of the American 
commander to Guilford Court-House, though he 
gives no names of these officers, and no muster-rolls 
show who they were. They were an unknown 
factor in that important conflict of arms. 

Occasionally we can get glimpses of facts in the 
voluminous pages of Johnson, who had access to 
all the papers of General Greene, which throw 
much light on the number and character and indi- 
viduality of the troops engaged, though his con- 
clusions are so paradoxical that we cannot trust to 
their correctness. We can only gather together 
isolated facts, from here and there, and draw from 
them our own inferences. From Johnson's account 
of the battle one would infer that there were no 

*Johnson, vol. i, p. 471. 

( 2 9 < s ) 

North Carolina troops present except the two- 
brigades of militia under Butler and Eaton, which 
readied Greene on the nth of March, and that 
these ran without firing a shot. This is the absurd 
and arbitrary assertion which he makes. 

I shall now extract the real truth, or very much 
of it, in regard to the North Carolina troops in this 
battle, from Johnson's own statements, made else- 
where, and disconnected with the battle. 

In his account of the battle of Hobkirk's Hill r 
fought the 25th day of April, 1781, he uses this 
language : 

"The only militia force then with the army consisted 
of 254 North Carolinians ; 150 of these, under Colonel 
Read, had joined Greene soon after he crossed the Dan, 
and had faithfully adhered to him from that time. They 
were volunteers, men of the first respectability, and much 
might have been expected of them in action."* 

Honorable George Davis, of Wilmington, kindly 
furnishes me the following sketch of Colonel James 

"WILMINGTON, N. C., February gth, 1888. 
" HON. D. SCHENCK, Greensboro, N. C. - 

"Mv DEAR SIR : It affords me pleasure to give you 
what meagre information I possess about Colonel James 
Read, of the Continental army, who was my great-uncle, 
the brother of my maternal grandmother. He was born 
in the town of Armagh, Ireland, but at what time, and 

"Vol. 2, p. 77. 


when he emigrated to North Carolina, I do not know. 
From the fact that he threw himself early and heartily 
into the patriot cause, I infer that he must have been 
here some y^ars before the revolution long enough to 
have identified himself thoroughly with our country and 
people. On the 7^1 of July, 1776, he was commissioned 
a Lieutenant; and on the 8th day of July, 1777, a Cap- 
tain in the ist Regiment of North Carolina troops, com- 
1 manded by Colonel, afterwards General, James Moore. I 
have no account of his military services, beyond what is 
related in McRee's Life of Iredell, vol. i, pages 494, 
499) 54> 545> 54^- He was with .Greene at Guilford 
Court-House and Hobkirk's Hill, and was reputed to 
have behaved well on both occasions. After the war he 
stoutly opposed the adoption of the Federal Constitution 
by North Carolina, and so drew upon himself the 
animadversion of Archibald Maclaine. (Life of Iredell, 
vol. 2, p. 219.) 

"In 1785, under an act of the General Assembly passed 
in 1784, Colonel Read was appointed, under the authority 
of the State, Collector of the Port of Brunswick, which 
position he held until the adoption by this State of the 
Federal Constitution, when that office was superseded 
by the authority of the United States. In 1790, Wil- 
mington was made the port of entry for the Cape Fear, 
and he was appointed Collector of that port by President 
Washington. This office he held until his death in 1802 
or 1803. He lived and died in Wilmington. He was 
never married. Colonel Read had no relatives in this 
country, except his young sister Sarah, whom he brought 
over from Ireland, and who married my grandfather, 
Joseph Eagles. He had a brother, Andrew Read, who 
was a Colonel in the British army, but he never served 

in America, but was stationed in India, where he died 
without issue." 

Greene recrossed the Dan the 23d of February, 
and these men joined him "soon after." They 
were "volunteers," not militia, and men of the 
"first respectability" and had "faithfully adhered 
to Greene," and beyond question were in the battle 
at Guilford Court-House; but the account of that 
battle, by either Johnson or Lee, may be searched 
in vain for any mention of these "faithful volun- 

Here, then, we have 150, as a remnant of Read's 
volunteers; in all probability they numbered 200 
at the battle of Guilford Court-House. 

At another place* we are informed that on the 
25th day of February, the day of " Pyle's defeat," 
Pickens' command was reinforced by "two detach- 
ments of 100 each under Majors Winston and 
Armstrong," both of North Carolina. Here then, 
were 200 more North Carolina " volunteers " 
who joined the American forces and " adhered 
faithfully to Greene." Draper, in his biography 
of Major Winston, says positively that he "shared 
in the battle of Guilford. "f 

Major Winston was conspicuous for his bravery 
at King's Mountain, and led the van of the attack 
on the rear of the hill. He was a member of Con- 
gress from North Carolina in 1793, and again in 

*Volume i, p. 455. 

fKing's Mountain and Its Heroes, p. 455. 

1803. He lived near German town, in Stokes 
County, and died in 1814, leaving a large family.* 

It is not only true that these riflemen of Surry 
were present, but they were the very last to leave 
the field, after Tarleton's final charge which dis- 
persed the American forces on the left; for in that 
charge Talliaferro, of Surry, was killed, and Jesse 
Franklin, afterwards. Governor of North Carolina 
and United States Senator from this State, made a 
very narrow escape. The narrative of these occur- 
rences is given by Caruthers, in his Sketches of 
North Carolina, second series, upon the authority of 
the present Judge Jesse Franklin Graves, a grand- 
son of Governor Franklin, than whom no better 
man or purer Judge now adorns the bench of the 
" Old North State." 

In " Tarleton's Campaigns," page 320, we find 
the official report of the killed and wounded in 
the battle of Guilford, by Otho Williams, Deputy 
Adjuant General. It contains this statement: 

"The North Carolina cavalry, commanded by 
the Marquis Bretigny, lost one man killed and one 
man wounded." We learn elsewheref that this 
company consisted of 40 men. 

From Colonel James Martin's application for a 
pension under the act of 1832, we learn that his 
force, about 200 strong, joined Greene at Guilford 
Court-House on the icth February, and that about 
100 of them were still with Greene at the battle. 

*Wheeler's History, vol. 2, p. 149. 
tGordou's History, vol. 4, p. 54. 

Ramsay, in his Annals of Tennessee, page 251, 
also says that " in response to Greene's earnest 
entreaties, a few of the pioneers of Tennessee were 
tinder Greene's command at the hotly-contested 
battle of Guilford Conrt-House." 

"These men were under Charles Robertson," 
and were all North Carolinians. They numbered 
perhaps 100 men. 

To sum up the organized "volunteer" force of 
North Carolinians, in the Battle of Guilford Court- 
House, of whom no official report gives any account, 
we have the following: 

Colonel Read's men, 200 

Major Joseph Winston's men, - 100 
Major Armstrong, - 100 

Forbis' men from Guilford, - - 100 
Sevier's men tinder Robertson, - TOO 

Total, - 600 men. 

Add to these the North Carolina 

cavalry, 40 men, 

And we have a total of - - 640 

North Carolina volunteers who were in this 
battle, besides the 1000 militia who joined Greene 
on the nth day of March. The failure of Lee, in 
his Memoirs, or Campbell in his letter, :: ' : to mention 
these troops or their organizations, or the absence 
of their names from the official report, are scarcely 
to be considered as evidence against my position, 

*Gibbs' Doc. His. (1857) p. 139. 

(303 ) 

as but few persons are mentioned in the official 
report, except those on the muster-rolls of the army. 
It is as well established that Thomas Watkins, 
with a militia company of dragoons, from Prince 
Edward, Virginia, was present at this battle, as it 
is that Lee's Legfon was there,* and yet this troop 
of Watkins is nowhere mentioned by Lee or 
Campbell, or in Greene's official report. It is also 
well established that Watkins' dragoons did gallant 
service in the charge on the Guards, and remained 
to cover Greene's retreat after. Lee had, without 
orders, left the field. f 

I think it but fair to infer from Greene's letter of 
the' loth of February, when all his forces had 
rejoined the main army, that the "800 or 900" 
militia, as he termed them, included the 600 whom 
we have been able to trace directly to him, and 
that, in fact, instead of 600, there were "800 or 
900" North Carolina volunteers, select, good infan- 
try, who remained with Greene after the " mounted 
infantry" had left.J 

The brigade of North Carolinians under Pickens 
were not in the battle of Guilford. Their term of 
service ended on the 3d of March, but they remained 
a few days hoping to join in a general battle, and 
at last, by General Greene's order, they marched, 
in companies, for Rowan, Mecklenburg and Lincoln, 
where they were directed, should occasion require, 

*Foote's Sketches of Virginia, ist series, p. 403. 
tjohnson, vol. 2, p. 20. 
tjohnson, vol. i, p. 470. 


to embody again, and hang- on the flanks of the 
enemy if he retreated in that direction. There 
were, however, a number of individuals of this 
North Carolina brigade, who remained for the battle ; 
among them Abram Forney, of Lincoln Comity, 
ancestor of the present Judge Shipp, and of General 
Robert D. Johnson and Captain J. F. Johnson, of 
Birmingham, Alabama, late of Charlotte, N. C. 
Abram Forney was an old Indian and frontier 
fighter and could not endure the idea of missing 
his favorite pastime. He was on the front line and 
fired until the point of the British bayonet was too 
close for further amusement. There were others, 
of that Mecklenburg and Lincoln Legion, who were 
with Forney, but I cannot gather their names. 
There were also many individual riflemen of the 
surrounding country who, as soon as Greene 
advanced to Guilford Court-House, repaired to the 
"shooting-match," as they designated it; some of 
these we may mention by name in subsequent pages. 
It has been previously stated that the North 
Carolina militia who joined General Greene at 
High Rock Ford (or Troublesome Creek, according 
to General Graham), consisted of two brigades of 
500 men each. The aggregate, however, was 1060. 
The one was under Brigadier General John Butler, of 
Orange County, one of the old Regulators, who had 
adhered to his ideas of resistance to tyranny, from 
Alamance, in May 1771, to that time. He had 
been in arms from the beginning of the war and 
had recently been at Gates' defeat and escaped 


capture. He is represented as a man of great cour- 
age and much force of character. He was very 
popular with his neighbors and retained their 
respect by his honest and straightforward dealings 
with them. There was no time during the revolu- 
tionary war when the name of General Butler was 
not conspicuous in North Carolina, as a patriot and 
soldier. He never laid down his arms until inde- 
pendence was declared and won. The militia who 
served under him at Guilford Court-House were 
from Orange, Granville and GuilfordTounties. 

General Thomas Eaton, who commanded the 
other brigade, had been prominent in the civil and 
political service of the State. In 1775 he was one 
of the councillors of the Provisional Government 
in North Carolina, of which Cornelius Harnett was 
the "head."* 

In 1776 he was Colonel of a battalion of militia 
and was ordered out to repel a threatened invasion 
by Sir Henry Clinton, on the Cape Fear.f He 
was at the battle of Briar Creek, under General 
Ashe, March the 3d, 1779, and narrowly escaped 

In the " Life and Times of Iredell,"J we find this 
anecdote about him: 

"Eaton (afterwards General) was at Briar Creek. He 
had a very small foot and wore a boot of unusual finish 

*Moore's History, vol. I, p. 197. 
fMoore's History, vol. i, p. 215. 
JVol. i, p. 408, note. 

( 3 o 6 ) 

and neatness. In the haste of his flight he left his boots 
behind ; they were recognized and purchased of a soldier 
by Colonel John Hamilton, who afterwards commanded 
a regiment of loyalists in the British service. After the 
war, at a dinner party at Willie Jones', Colonel Hamilton, 
with some good-hnmored raillery, produced the boots 
and passed them to their former owner, who, greatly 
incensed, threw them across the table at Hamilton's 

General Eaton was the ancestor of the late 
Honorable William Eaton, of Warren County, 
Attorney General of the State. 

The aggregate of the North Carolina troops who 
were in the battle of Gnilford Conrt-House was, 
approximately, 1700 of all arms. 

We shall now endeavor to ascertain the troops 
from Virginia, outside of the regulars, who composed 
the army of General Greene. 

On the 25th day of February, after the "Hack- 
ing Match," as Pyle's defeat was called, Johnson 
says :* 

"But notwithstanding the approach of darkness, the 
American commander resolved not to rest until he had 
thrown himself between Tarleton and the approaching 
reinforcements. For this purpose the detachment was 
ordered to proceed, and a place of encampment being 
selected, three miles in advance of the British party, 
Pickens halted for the night and made every arrange- 
ment for attacking the enemy by the break of day. 

*Vol. i, p. 455. 


Never was there a more fortunate step taken than this ; 
for one mile beyond the American encampment, Colonel 
Preston" (of Virginia), " with 300 respectable followers, 
had halted for the night, and at small intervals beyond 
him were two other small detachments of about 100 
each, under Majors Winston and Armstrong." 

Colonel William Campbell, of Washington 
County, Virginia, did not arrive at the camp of 
Pickens, in Guilford County, near Alamance, until 
about the 3d of March. He was on his way the 
25th of February, as we learn by the following 
letter from Martin Armstrong to him : 

" FEBRUARY 25, 1781. 

"DEAR COLONEL: Yesterday I had an express from 
Colonel Locke's camp ; he is at the High Rock Ford on 
Haw River ; General Pickens is near Hillsboro, and by 
this time considerable strong ; General Greene on his 
march towards the enemy, with a number of the Virginia 
militia and regulars ; General Butler, with the Orange 
district militia, lies below Hillsborough, and by even- 
intelligence, the enemy are penned up in that town. It 
is generally supposed that a reinforcement is on its 
march to the assistance of the British ; our people are 
gathering from all quarters, and the enemy's pickets are 
constantly harassed by our reconnoitering parties. The 
arrival of your troops would add vigor to us and discour- 
age the enemy, who, no doubt, have heard of your being 
on your march towards them. Pray send back this 
express as quick as possible. I shall endeavor to have 
some meat for von at Bethabara ; meal and corn von can 

have a plenty, but meat is scarce. However, I shall try 
my best. This day Colonel Preston, I think, will join 
General Pickens ; if any extraordinary news conies to 
hand before you arrive at Bethabara, 1 shall let you 
know by another express. 

"I am, in haste, sir, your humble servant, 


Lee, in relating the dash of Cornwallis on the 
6th of March, says: 

"The left of our light troops was composed of militia 
who had lately joined under Colonel Campbell, one of 
the heroes of King's Mountain, relieving Brigadier 
Pickens and the corps who had so faithfully adhered to 
General Greene during the trying scenes just passed. 
Campbell's men were part of the conquerors of Ferguson , 
better suited, as has been before observed, for the field 
of battle than for the security of camp. In this quarter, 
through some remissness in the guards, and concealed 
by the fog, Lieutenant Colonel Webster, commanding 
the British van, approached close before he was discov- 

Johnson, relating the junction of Colonel William 
Campbell with Greene's army, states :f 

"The gallant Colonel Campbell, who had promised a 
reinforcement of one thousand hardy mountaineers, 
flushed with the capture of an entire army on King's 
Mountain, had, almost desperate with mortification, 
presented himself with only sixty followers" 

*Lee's Memoirs, p. 265. tjohuson, vol. I , P- 469. 

( 309 ) 

The reason for this disappointment was, that the 
Cherokee Indians, instigated by British emissaries, 
had suddenly appeared on the western frontiers, 
and almost every available man of that portion of 
the State was called out to repel the invasion. 

This fact, too, accounts for the absence of Sevier's 
and Shelby's men, who were engaged in the same 
service. These latter spared a company, under 
Robertson, for General Greene, as we have seen. 

It is worthy of observation that, though Campbell 
brought fewer men to the field than any other 
leader, he is made one of the most conspicuous 
figures in the battle. His reputation was made by 
commanding leaders subordinate to him in rank, 
and all his command was, for convenience of narra- 
tive, called " Campbell's Corps." 

The next volunteer corps of Virginia was a 
battalion of riflemen under Colonel Charles Lynch. 

I have not been able to find in Johnson or Lee, 
who give particulars, or in any general history, an 
estimate of their number. 

In a note, p. 269, Lee says: "Colonel Lynch had 
lately joined, commanding one of the battalions of 
Virginia militia which arrived" (on the nth 
March) u under Brigadier Lawson," and Johnson 
says they were all volunteers and riflemen. It may 
be safe to estimate them between one and two hun- 
dred men, say 150. 

This was the Colonel Charles Lynch who gave 
the name of u Lynch law" to the summary punish- 
ment of violent and desperate criminals. 

( 3 i o) 

He was of Quaker descent and an ardent Whig; 
he folded up his non-combatant principles when 
they were in the way of his patriotic impulses. He 
inflicted these punishments generally on the worst 
class of Tories; but to his character for mercy, be 
it said, he did not take human life. In Judge 
Lynch 's court there generally sat as associates 
Robert Adams and Thomas Galloway, and an old 
song commemorating their judgments ran thus: 

"Hurrah for Colonel Lynch, Captain Bob and Galloway, 
They never turned a Tory loose 
Until he shouted liberty." 

Colonel Lynch died October 29th, 1796, aged 60 

There was a company of militia dragoons from 
Prince Edward County, Virginia, commanded by 
Thomas Watkins, with Lieutenants Philemon Hoi- 
comb, Charles Scott, and Samuel Venable, and 
among the privates was the giant Peter Francisco, 
long the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Bur- 
gesses in Virginia. They did gallant service, as 
we shall see. They perhaps numbered' 50 men.j' 

The militia of Virginia which joined Greene on 
the nth March, and constituted the brigades of 
Stevens and Lawson, has been variously estimated. 
Gordon fixes the number at 1693,^ Johnson, who 
underrates the number of Greene's forces of every 

*Robert Carroll in Chicago Inter-Ocean. 
fFoote's Sketches of Virginia, first series, p. 403. 
JGordon, vol. 4, p. 54. 

U M ) 

corps, puts the number "as two brigades of 600 


The aggregation of Virginia forces under Greene, 

outside of the regular army, is 

Colonel William Preston's command, 300 

Colonel William Campbell's command, 60 

Colonel Charles Lynch's command, - 150 

Watkins' dragoons, 50 
Virginia militia, 

Total, 2253 

Greene's regular troops were as follows: 
Virginia brigade, two regiments, under Colo- 
nel Green and Lieutenant Colonel Hawes, 778 
commanded by Gen.Huger of South Carolina. 
Two Maryland regiments of regulars, under 
Lieutenant Colonel Howard and Colonel 
Ford, forming a brigade under Otho Wil- 
liams, to which were attached Kirkwood's 
Delawares, the remnant brought off from 
Gates' defeat, in all 630 

The artillery consisted of four (4) six-pounders 
under Captain Anthony Singleton and 
Lieutenant Finley, with sixty matrossesf 60 
from Virginia and Maryland. 

Lee's cavalry, 75 

Washington's cavalry, 90 

Lee's infantry, 82 

Total, - 1715 

*Vol. 2, p. 3.- t Artillerymen. 


These are the figures of Johnson as to the regu- 
lars, which, I suspect, are too small. 

To make a summary of Greene's forces, we have 
North Carolinians, - 1700 

Virginians, 22 53 

Regular army, - - 1715 

Total, 5668 

In my opinion, this is more probably under the 
true figures than over it, as there were so many 
irregular troops, going and coming, that it is impos- 
sible to locate them at any one place. 

Turning to the camp of Cornwallis at Bell's 
Mill, on Deep River, I will endeavor to ascertain 
the number and character of the troops composing 
the British army, though I find it a most difficult 
and complex problem to solve. I do not know that 
I can do better than condense the argument in the 
words of Johnson :* 

u lt is no easy undertaking to determine the number 
of men brought by the enemy into the battle of Guilford. 
The assertion of Lord Cornwallis that they amounted to 
only 1360 is sneered at by Sir Henry Clinton, and not 
even contended for by the British historians. It is an 
unfortunate fact, for the support of this assertion, that he 
admits a loss of more than 500 killed and wounded, and 
yet admits a total on the ist of April of 1723. Deduct 
from this number Hamilton's loyal regiment, which 
does not appear to have been in the action, and there 
will still remain more than 2000 exclusive of the artillery. 

-Vol. 2, pp. 3-4. 


It is also observable that Colonel Tarleton admits his 
cavalry to have amounted to 200, and yet the whole 
Legionary corps is set down in Cornwallis' account at 
174. By the army returns of the ist March, it appears 
that his total was 2213, which will leave 2000 after 
deducting Hamilton's regiment. Sir Henry Clinton 
supposes that Lord Cornwallis ought to have had with 
him, after the affair of the Cowpens, 3000 men, exclusive 
of cavalry and militia, and General Greene constantly 
insists that his force, when at Hillsboro, as ascertained 
from his daily rations and other means resorted to by 
military men, exceeded 2500 and approached 3000. No 
author, that we recollect, ventures to state it at less 
than 2000." 

It is probable that Cornwallis had at least 2000 
men engaged in the fight, with Hamilton's loyalists 
iii charge of his baggage in the rear. 

These were all veteran soldiers, inured to war 
by long experience and inspired to deeds of glory 
by the history and traditions of these regiments. 

The brigade commanded by Lieutenant Colonel 
James Webster was composed of the 23d and 33d 
regiments of infantry. 

The 23d was the regiment of the Prince of Walcb 
and was known as the "Welsh Fuzileers." Thev 
bore the motto of the Prince fc/i dieii (I serve) on 
the buttons of their uniform. :i: 

Sir William Howe was its Colonel in 1775, with 
Nesbett Balfour Lieutenant Colonel, and William 
Blakeny, Major. 

:; "I have one of these buttons in my possession. 

The 33d regiment was one of the most honorable 
in the English service. It was the old regiment 
of Cornwallis and was his pet and pride. In the 
British Army Records we find that on the 2ist 
March, 1766, Charles E. Cornwallis was appointed 
its Colonel, and that he was made Lieutenant 
General, August 29th, 1777. Its other officers were 
Lieutenant Colonel James Webster and Major Wil- 
liam Dansey. Captain Frederick Cornwallis com- 
manded one of the companies in the regiment. 

The 7 ist was a Scotch regiment. It seems from 
the "Historical Records of the British Army" 
that it was newly reorganized in October, 1775,. 
specially for service in America. They wore " green 
plaid pants, close fitting red vests and high fur 
caps." They were Highlanders. Their officers in 
1779 were Colonel Simon Fraser, afterwards Major 
General, Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell 
and Major Alexander McDonald. 

This regiment was composed of two battalions,, 
one of which, under Me Arthur, was captured at 

Next to the 7ist was the Hessian regiment a 
brutal and ignorant mass of Dutchmen, who had 
been hired as slaves, and, as Lee expresses it, 
"mechanized" into soldiers. 

The contract of the English Government with 
the Prince of Hesse was, that the Prince 

u Should receive as Levy money for every foot soldier 
30 Crowns Bunco, at 53 Holland Stivers the Crown.'* 


Three men wounded were to be reckoned, as usual, for 
one man killed. "Those that are killed shall be paid at 
the rate of the Levy money." 

The Prince was an avaricious man, loving money* 
more than subjects or human life, and complained 
that these "mercenaries were not killed in suffi- 
cient numbers to replenish his empty treasury." 
The English always reported the missing as 
wounded, and saved two-thirds of the u Crown's 

The yist regiment and Bose's regiment of Hes- 
sians were under Major General Leslie. 

Brigadier General O'Hara supported Webster 
with the 2d battalion of Guards and the Grenadiers. 
After O'Hara was wounded, this battalion was 
under the immediate command of Lieutenant 
Colonel Robert Stuart. " He was fifth son of Robert 
Stuart, seventh Baron Blaiityre, in the Peerage of 
Scotland. The present Baron Blantyre is his grand 
nephew. "f 

The ad battalion of the Guards was in command 
of Lieutenant Colonel Norton. Both battalions 
were of the best material and under the most ac- 
complished officers. 

Tarleton's Legion was not equal in material to 
the other regiments. He had seriously injured its 
esprit de corps by recruiting its ranks with Tories. 

The artillery was commanded by Lieutenant 

*New York His. Soc. Collection, 1879, vol. u, p. 348. 
|I am indebted for this information to David Hutchesou, Esq., 
Assistant Librarian of the Congressional Library. 

McLeod, with Lieutenant O'Hara, a spirited young 
officer, as second in rank. Lieutenant O'Hara was 
unfortunately killed in the opening cannonade. 

The field of battle is undulating ground, mostly 
covered with forest. If we approach it, as Corn- 
wallis did, from the westward, until we come 
in sight of the first American line of battle, we 
come first to a small creek, a tributary of Horse- 
pen Creek, and generally known as Little Horsepen. 
It runs a little west of north, and is about five or 
six hundred yards in front of the American line. 
After crossing the creek we climb a long, gently- 
ascending hill, with fields on either side, making 
an open country of from four to five hundred yards 
wide, and skirted by primitive forest. Half way 
up this hill, on the southern side, is the Hoskin's 
farm house, which is still standing, and occupied 
by the grandchildren of the proprietor who owned 
it in 1781, and, to whose credit be it said, he never 
allowed the face of the battle-field to be changed 
any more than was absolutely necessary. 

At the end of the field on the east, the road 
which in 1781 was known as the old Salisbury or 
New Garden Road enters a dense forest of sturdy 
oaks, where the groiind is nearly level, and this forest 
extended on both sides to the Bruce Road, which is, 
by measurement, 750 yards distant. There is a 
slight ascent from the mouth of the forest for 295 
yards, and from there to the "Bruce Road" the 
road is nearly level. Near the Bruce Road begins 
the descent of a steep hill about 125 yards long, then 
across a valley 100 yards wide. On either side of 

this part of the road were old fields ; that on the 
northern side is intersected by a deep ravine, in 
which, in wet weather, is a running rivulet. Along 
the road on the north side, and enclosing one of these 
fields,, was a fence grown up with a thick hedge row. 
Pursuing the road further, we cross a small branch, 
coming from the south and forming a second valley 
at an acute angle to the road ; then ascending a 
short, steep, rocky ridge about fifty yards, we come 
to the intersection of the "New Salisbury Road." 
This is a high point overlooking the whole field of 
battle. From this eminence, which is at the end 
of a ridge, the descent is steep to the valley of 
Hunting Creek, one hundred yards distant ; then 
crossing a little fertile valley, the ascent is at first 
steep, then gradual to Guilford Court-House, four 
hundred (40x3) yards off. 

From the front line to the court-house is very 
little less than a mile. A log house, tradition says, 
stood on the south side of the old Salisbury road 
just opposite the fork made by the Bruce road, and 
a spring was used at the foot of the hill, which is 
now called the "Clyde Spring,"* so well known for 
the purity and refreshing coolness of its water. 

Guilford Court-House was the capital of Guil- 
ford County, which then embraced Davidson and 
Alamance. It had perhaps two or three hundred 
inhabitants, the court-house, jail and a large copper- 
smith shop being its principal buildings; the 

*This spring is now beautifully adorned, by a generous donation 
from Mr. William P. Clyde to the Guilford-Battle Ground Company. 

(3 i 80 

Lindsays, Whittingdons, Bevills, and Colonel 
Hamilton, a rich man of his day, being among 
its citizens. Its name, after the revolution, was 
changed to Martinsville, in honor of Governor 
Alexander Martin. In May, 1809, the court-house 
was moved to Greensboro, five miles southwest, and 
the old town soon went to decay. It is now a wheat 
field, there being no vestige of it remaining except 
an ancient well of pure water, still used, and the 
scattered rocks and debris of the court-house and 
jail, and pieces of copper which never corrode. 

Tradition has much to say of "Uncle Mose," an 
old slave, who was chief artificer in this curious old 
shop, and who was allowed one quart of whiskey 
per day to counteract the fumes of heated copper. 

There was an old grist-mill that stood on the 
west side of Hunting Creek, north of the old Salis- 
bury road, which belonged to Colonel Hamilton. 
This was a great convenience to the town and a 
place of note in 1781. The race that conveyed the 
water along the hillside is still visible. It lay in 
the line of Greene's retreat from the old field where 
the last stand was made, and some graves, near by, 
are marked with rude headstones of ccrmmon rock. 
Who rest there only eternity's roll-call will divulge. 

In approaching the description of the battle of 
Guilford Court-House, I am forcibly impressed with 
the confession made by Judge Johnson as to the 
confusion of history in regard to that event, and I 
may, therefore, be pardoned for attempting to draw 
my own conclusions instead of "taking up" and 

repeating what has been said by "other writers." 
That author says: 

"Like most other interesting battles, the descriptions 
handed down to us are very confused, and although all 
the incidents may be gathered from a careful examina- 
tion of the several accounts, the connection and depend- 
ence of the several incidents are involved in much 
obscurity. This is the necessary result of the manner 
in which such narratives are collected and transmitted. 
Each party publishes an account most favorable to him- 
self; these are taken up by writers under the influence 
of opposite partialities and seldom collated by those who 
fol/ott 1 with the patience necessary to the attainment of 
truth. Nor is it always practicable for the most labori- 
ous investigation to detect the errors or impositions 
practiced upon the public, since it is in the power of 
parties interested to conceal material facts, at least from 
the existing generation, and as to motives, by a com- 
parison with which alone can a fair estimate of the 
merits, talents and success of the parties be formed, they 
may forever lie in the bosom that conceived them." 

The Memoirs of Lee are roughly handled by 
Johnson, and Johnson in turn has been roughly 
handled by the critics, who accuse him of magnify- 
ing his hero and disparaging all others who are 
rivals for the honors of history gathered around 
him. The truth is not yet established by the ver- 
dict of history and the matter is open for further 
testimony and additional argument. No one need 
be deterred from entering this field of discussion 

(3 20) 

and contributing what facts he may have collected 
or presenting such conclusions as have been formed 
in his mind. 

We have seen that General Greene had examined 
this battle-field carefully, on the loth of February, 
and pronounced it one of the most desirable for the 
character of his troops and the number of his army. 
It afforded a forest where the militia could fight 
from tree to tree for shelter and be protected from 
the charge of cavalry; and for the same reason a 
solid column of bayonets could not be kept together 
among the undergrowth and trees. The roads that 
concentrated from the north, northeast and east, all 
afforded safe lines of retreat, for his army, to his 
supplies and reinforcements. 

It was in a country loyal to the American cause, 
where, as Tarleton says, the British " had no friends 
or partisans, at this period, except those included 
within the extent of the royal camp." 

The British commander had burned all his heavy 
baggage and stores at Ramsour's Mill, and had 
consumed nearly all his medicines and much of 
his scant supply of ammunition. 

If he were now crippled in battle and- incumbered 
by his wounded, he must fall a prey to the gather- 
ing hosts of militia who were preparing to fall upon 
him on every side, or he must make a precipitate 
and inglorious flight to the sea, where he could find 
protection from his ships. 

The only escape left for his lordship was by 
winning a decisive victory like that at Camden, 

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and against this General Greene had made most 
certain provisions. He would risk his militia, but 
he knew that his Continentals, who could not be 
broken, and his superior cavalry, were able to secure 
him a safe retreat and constitute a nucleus around 
which a fresh army could soon be collected and 

The order of battle chosen by the American com- 
mander was the same which General Morgan adopted 
at Cowpens, and the progress and result were ex- 
pected to be the same. With Morgan in command, 
who had dash and confidence, almost to recklessness, 
or with Tarleton for an opponent, who had more spirit 
than endurance, no doubt that the British would 
have been driven from the field; but it does not 
follow, therefore, that Greene committed a mistake. 

On the aoth of February, General Morgan writes 
to General Greene : 

u I have been doctoring these several days, thinking 
to be able to take the field, but I find I get worse. My 
pains are now accompanied with a fever every day. I 
expect Lord Cornwallis will push yon until yon are 
obliged to fight him, on which much will depend. Yon 
have, from what I see, a great number of militia. If they 
Jig/if, yon beat Cornwallis, // not, lie will beat you, and 
perhaps cut your regulars to pieces ; which will be losing 
all your hopes. I am informed, among the militia, will 
be a number of old soldiers. I think it would be advisa- 
ble to select them from the militia and put them in the 
ranks with the regulars. Select tJie riflemen also and 
fight them on the flanks under enterprising officers, who 

are acquainted with that kind of fighting, and put the 
remainder of the militia in the centre, with some picked 
troops in their rear with orders to shoot down the first 
man that runs" 

Greene was most confidential with Morgan, and 
Morgan's experience in fighting Southern militia, 
in his earlier days, gave much weight to his advice. 

Greene formed his first line in exact accordance 
with the advice of Morgan. The North Carolina 
militia were placed in the centre, General Thomas 
Baton's brigade, from Halifax and Warren coun- 
ties, was placed at a right angle to the old Salis- 
bury or New Garden road, behind a rail fence which 
separated the woods from the fields. Eaton's left 
rested on the road. General John Butler's brigade, 
from Orange, Guilford and Granville, continued 
the line on the south side of the road, Butler's 
right resting on the road, and his whole line being 
behind a zig-zag rail fence, the fashion of that day. 
On the left of Butler's line was the separate com- 
mand of Colonel Arthur Forbis, of Alamance, in 
Guilford County, which consisted of ^about 100 
men, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians; Forbis himself 
being an elder in the pastorate of Doctor David 

Between the left of Eaton's brigade and the right 
of Butler's brigade, in the old Salisbury road, and 
a little in advance of the militia line, were placed 
two six-pounder cannons, under the command of 
Captain Anthony Singleton, a Virginia officer/' 1 

*Lee's Memoirs, p. 275. Johnson's Life of Greene, vol. 2, p. 6. 


The artillery was thus supported by the North 
Carolina militia, and, in fact, formed a part of that 
line. It was compelled to act in concert with the 
militia, and to be observant of and governed by its 
movements to stand when it stood, and retire 
when it retired." Singleton would necessarily be 
cognizant of the orders given this line, and be 
acquainted with their conduct in the battle. 

On the right flank of Eaton's brigade a " cover- 
ing party," as it was called in that day, was placed. 
It was under the command of Colonel William 
Washington, of the cavalry, and consisted of Kirk- 
wood's Delawares,* "The Blue Hen's Chickens, " 
about eighty (80) in number, and a battalion of 
riflemen under Lynch, about 200. They were 

*The State of Delaware furnished one regiment only, and certainly 
no regiment of the army surpassed it in soldiership. The remnant 
of that corps, less than two companies, from the. battle of Camden, 
was commanded by Captain Kirkwood, who passed through the war 
with high reputation ; and yet, as the liiie of Delaware consisted of 
but one regiment, and that regiment reduced to a captain's com- 
mand, Kirkwocd never could be promoted in regular routine a 
very glaring defect In the organization of the army, as it gave ad- 
vantages to parts of the same army denied to other portions of it. 
The sequel is singularly hard. Kirkwood retired, upon peace, a 
captain; and when the army, under St. Clair, was raised to defend 
the west from the Indian enemy, this veteran resumed his sword as 
the eldest captain of the oldest regiment. In the decisive defeat on 
the 4th of November, the gallant Kirkwood fell, bravely sustaining 
his point of the action. It was the thirty-third time he had risked 
his life for his country ; and he died as he had lived brave, meri- 
torious, unrewarded Kirkwood. Lee's Memoirs, p. /S$, note. 

Captain Kirkwood was a relative of Colonel Julius A. Gray, of 
Greensboro, whose grandfather visited Captain Kirkwood at Hills- 
boro, North Carolina, in 1780. 


extended in the woods obliquely to the main line, 
and its right rested near a swamp in a little valley. 
In the rear of the angle formed by the militia and 
the " covering party," and in the woods, was the 
cavalry command of Colonel Washington. 

On the left of Butler's line, and obliquely to it, 
in the woods, was another " covering party," under 
the command of Colonel William Campbell, of Vir- 
ginia he of JCing's Mountain fame and in the 
rear of the angle formed by these two lines was 
Lee's Legion cavalry, his infantry being in the 
line of the "covering party." 

The strength of this covering party is estimated 
by Johnson as only two hundred and fifty, all told, 
which a moment's reflection will show to be incor- 
rect ; but he has been followed by most subsequent 
historians, who have not been interested in correct- 
ing the error, supposing it to be immaterial. It is, 
however, very material to North Carolina, because 
her troops formed a large part of that corps, and 
have been ignored in the reports of the battle. 

We have seen in a former page that Colonel 
Preston joined Pickens on the 25th of February 
with three hundred (300) " respectable followers," 1 
and they adhered to Greene's army until after the 
battle, and were under Campbell. I am of opinion, 
however, that Preston's battalion did not exceed 
two hundred, which was the strength of Lynch's 
other Virginia battalion. 

Campbell had sixty men, and Lee's Legion 

*Johnson, vol. i, p. 455. 

(325 ) 

infantry numbered eighty men. These low esti- 
mates would aggregate three hundred and forty 
men , and to these must undoubtedly be added the 
riflemen of Surry, under Major Armstrong,* 100 
men, and Major Joseph Winston i oo men ,f making 
a total aggregate of five hundred and forty (540) 

In the rear of this line, in the forest, under the 
gentle slope of the hill, and about three hundred 
yards distant to the east, was posted the Virginia 
militia. On the south side of the road, with its 
right resting at a right angle on the old Salisbury 
road, was Stevens' brigade. In the rear of this 
brigade was "a line of sentinels extending from 
right to left at about twenty yards distance from 
the line. These were chosen, confidential men, 
selected by General Stevens on personal knowl- 
edge, and posted there with orders to shoot down 
any individual who broke from the ranks. This 
may appear to have been a strong measure, but it 
is one which, with irregular troops, or troops com- 
posed of diversified materials, ought never to be 
omitted. The good effects of it will be presently 

Stevens, "who had been stung by the recollec- 
tion of the inglorious flight" of his militia brigade 
at Gates' defeat, had frequently expressed his 
determination to have them shot down if they 

"1 am convinced that this was Martin Armstrong, 
tjohnson, vol. I, p. 455. 
tjohnson, vol. 2, p. 6. 


repeated the disgraceful conduct; but the gallant 
stand of his brigade at Guilford Court-House is 
not wholly due to this line of executioners, in the 
rear, as Johnson supposes. Among the troops of 
Stevens were many veterans of the army of Wash- 
ington whose terms of service had expired, and on 
their return they had been hired as substitutes, or 
called in occasionally by the draft or by volunteer- 
ing. It was to these that Morgan alluded in his 
letter to Greene^ Stevens was an accomplished 
officer and had the entire confidence of General 
Greene, and his heroic conduct on this field is 
deserving of honor and praise. 

On the north side of the "old Salisbury road," 
in the forest, with its left resting at a right angle 
to the road, was Lawson's Virginia brigade of 
militia. Lynch's battalion had been detached 
from it, and to this is probably due the weakness of 
its resistance, as it lost only one man killed in the 

The third and last line was drawn up in an old 
field, around the brow of a hill, in semi-circular 
form, on the north side of the old Salisbury road. 

I have located the second and third lines at the 
places indicated by Johnson and Lee, and they are 
at least five hundred and fifty (550) yards apart by 
actual measurement. I am quite familiar with 
every foot of the battle-ground and visit it very 
often. I have measured all the distances on it.* 

"Johnson puts this distance at 300 yards, which is just about half 
of the real distance. 


This was the line of Continental troops, or 
regulars, and included two brigades. The first 
brigade, on the right of the line, was composed of 
two Virginia regiments, the one under Colonel 
Green, the other under Lieutenant Colonel Hawes, 
the whole commanded by Brigadier General Huger 
of South Carolina. These troops, as an organiza- 
tion, had not yet been in battle. The second 
brigade was composed of the first and second Mary- 
land regiments, the first was under Colonel Gunby r 
at the opening of the battle, the second under Colo- 
nel Ford; the whole commanded by Colonel Otho 
Williams, a veteran soldier of the Maryland line. 

The First Maryland was the finest regiment in 
Greene's army, and had seen service under Wash- 
ington in all his New Jersey campaigns. It came 
South, under DeKalb, after the fall of Charleston, 
in May, 1780. It bore the onset of the whole 
British army, with the aid of Dixon's North Caro- 
lina battalion, at Gates' defeat, and Major Anderson, 
of this regiment, was the only officer who retreated 
with an organized force to Charlotte. Under Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Howard it charged and routed the 
British regulars at Cowpens and finished the defeat 
of Tarleton on that auspicious day. It was about to 
add another laurel to its wreath of glory. 

The Second Maryland was a new levy and had 
never been in battle before, and did not remain 
very long in this one. 

Greene placed two pieces of artillery between the 


flanks of these two brigades, at the sharp curve, of 
the semi-circle, around the hill. 

General Greene, during the battle, was with the 
Continental line, eight hundred and fifty yards 
from the front, with the forest intervening, and did 
not have personal observation of the battle until its 
tide flowed to his position. 

Leaving General Greene's army in position, with 
the exception of Colonel Lee, who, as an advanced 
guard, brought on the battle, before falling back 
into the line, I will take the reader to the camp of 
Cornwallis on Deep River, \vhich was twelve miles 
nearly west from G nil ford Court-House. The Brit- 
ish commander correctly interpreted the advance of 
Greene, to a point so near his camp, as a challenge 
to battle and immediately prepared to accept it. 

Earl}* on the morning of the i5th March, 1781, 
which was Thursday, he sent back his baggage to 
Bell's Mill, under the escort of Colonel Hamilton's 
regiment of loyalists and a few infantry and cavalry, 
and advanced with his main army directly towards 
Guilford Court-House by the route which intersects 
the old Salisbury road at New Garden Quaker 

Lee, with his dragoons and infantry, and a de- 
tachment from the riflemen under Campbell, were 
sent out by Greene to reconnoiter and report the 
position and movements of the enemy. They met 
Tarleton in the advance, at the point where the 
present New Garden Meeting-House stands, be- 
tween four and five miles from Greene's camp, and 


where the Deep River road intersects the old 
Salisbury road. Here a very sharp skirmish took 
place. Lee at first made a brilliant charge, driving 
Tarleton before him, but, venturing too far, he 
received a galling fire from the advanced infantry, 
and was compelled to retreat precipitately. Colo- 
nel Lee relates that it was in the early morning, 
and his horse became so badly frightened at the 
sheen of the British muskets that he was com- 
pelled to dismount and change to another in the 
thickest of the encounter. Lee retreated, reaching 
the American line sometime before the battle, and 
took the position assigned him on the left. 

Captain Tate of Virginia, so distinguished at 
Cowpens, received a ball which broke his thigh; 
Lieutenant Snowden, of the Legion infantry, was 
severely wounded also and left behind. The British 
suffered more severely. Captain Goodricks of the 
Guards was badly wounded and quite a number 

At the cross-roads, near the Quaker Meetiiig- 
House, off from the side of the Salisbury road, in 
a little cove at the head of the hollow or valley, are 
the graves of about twenty soldiers who were buried 
there after the skirmish ; friend and foe alike await- 
ing the final trumpet sound which shall summon 
them to the common array before the Judge of all 
the earth. 

The British now pursued their march unmolested 
until they wound around a valley which leads to 
Little Horsepen Creek ; descending this in a gentle 


slope, between the hills, they soon came to the 
creek and in sight of the American line. Singleton 
opened on them with his six-ponnders, and the 
British responded with their three-ponnders, and a 
lively cannonade ensued. The British, in the 
meantime, marched rapidly into the valley of the 
creek, and, under cover of the hill, "displayed" 
their line. 

"The yist regiment. Scotch Highlanders, known 
as the 'King's Own Borderers,' and the Hessians, 
known as the Regiment of Bose, but commanded 
now by Major DnBny, formed on the right, or 
sotith of the old Salisbury road, and at a right 
angle to it. These were under the command of 
Major General Leslie, and constituted the force 
that was to assail the American left. They had in 
reserve, as a support, the first battalion of Guards, 
under Lieutenant Colonel Norton. 

"Colonel Webster was directed to form the 23d 
and 33d regiments on the left of General Leslie's 
division," 1 and on the left or north side of the old 
Salisbury road, and at a right angle to it. Briga- 
dier General O'Hara was directed to support Colo- 
nel Webster with the second battalion of Guards 
and the Grenadier company of the Guards. Whilst 
these troops were forming, the Yagers and the light 
infantry of the Guards remained near the guns in 
the road, but when the line moved on the}' attached 
themselves to the left of W 7 ebster's brigade. The 
artillery, under Lieutenant McLeod, proceeded 

"""Tarleton, p. 272. 

along the high-road; the dragoons likewise could 
only move in column in the same direction, and 
Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton was ordered to keep 
his regiment in reserve till the infantry should 
penetrate through the woods to the open ground 
near the Court-House, where the country was rep- 
resented to be more favorable for the operations of 
cavalry. "* 

Colonel Carrington gives the following official 
figures as containing the number of these respect- 
ive organizations on the first day of March, 1781, 

23d Regiment, - 258 

33d Regiment, - 322 

yist Regiment and ad Battalion, 212 

Regiment of Bose, - 313 

The Yagers, 97 

British Legion, - 174 


This does not include the First Battalion of 
Guards, the artillery or the Grenadiers, whose 
numbers are not given. 

Thus was the front of battle formed, by the 
British commander, in the valley of Horsepen, a 
bright and sparkling rivulet, which went on its 
racy way all unmindful of the bloody carnage 
which was soon to crimson and pollute its crystal 
fountains. It was at noon when the scarlet uni- 
forms and burnished arms of the British soldiery 

*Tarleton, pp. 272-3. 

were glistening in the sunlight of that beautiful 
day. Not a furrow had been turned in the fields; 
not a bud was yet seen upon the trees, nor a flower 
in the valleys; but the first warm sunshine of 
spring was beginning to cast its rays upon the 
earth and enliven nature into activity again after a 
dreary winter of repose. It was not a day that 
suggested the conflict of arms or the shedding of 
blood, but rather the lassitude of peace and the 
dreaminess of rest; but war, like death, "has all 
.seasons for its own," and places its iron hand on 
every scene of beauty and loveliness without con- 
sideration or remorse. 

The last remnant of the Continental army in the 
South was now arrayed in front of the British com- 
mander, and he fondly hoped that its rout or cap- 
tivity would be succeeded by the fall of Virginia 
and the subjection of the States. 

It was. a supreme moment in the life of Corn- 
wallis and the crisis in the revolution. This victory 
won, there was no foe to obstruct his passage into 
the defenceless province of Virginia; North Caro- 
lina would be at the mercy of the frown, and 
Georgia and South Carolina, already prostrate and 
subdued, could never rally for defence again. 

Should Greene be beaten, Cornwallis could take 
up his triumphal march to the sea to be welcomed 
by the English fleets which rode unchallenged in 
the harbors of Norfolk and New York. 

The prisoners of war at Charlottesville, Virginia, 
would be set free to plunder and pillage their cap- 


tors. France, capricious and fickle, would forsake 
the waning fortune of the colonies, and, making 
peace for herself, leave her allies to their fate. 
Washington would be crushed by the army of Clin- 
ton in his front and that of Cornwallis in his rear, 
or be driven into" the frozen regions of the North 
for refuge. Congress would be scattered from its 
halls and carry dismay wherever they fled for safety. 

These were the precious hopes and dazzling vis- 
ions that stimulated the ambition and nerved the 
hand of Cornwallis for the battle now before him. 
The greater the odds against him, the greater 
would be the glory of his triumph and the more 
important its results. 

Not only hope and glory allured him to battle, 
but retaliation and revenge rankled in his heart 
and drove him to desperate deeds. His lieuten- 
ants, Ferguson and Tarleton, had been defeated 
and humbled by the militia of North Carolina whom 
they despised, and British pride demanded that the 
insult be avenged. 

Every officer and soldier remembered King's 
Mountain and Cowpens, and were eager to wipe 
out the disgrace of those disastrous fields. 

Nothing but news of misfortune had gone to 
Clinton from the army of invasion since the frosts 
of October, 1780, had chilled their zeal, and the 
great rival of Cornwallis was secretly gloating over 
the misfortunes of his personal and political enemy. 

The recover}- of prestige and the restoration of 


royal confidence added a powerful incentive to the 
achievement of victory. 

Cornwallis resolved, therefore, that " he would 
conquer or die " on this field, and the reckless 
exposure of his person during the battle indicated 
the determination with which he entered the con- 

None the less was the appreciation of the Ameri- 
can army and its officers of the decisive crisis which 
was now upon them. 

General Greene, the confidential friend and 
trusted counsellor of Washington, had been selected 
by him as the commander-in-chief of the Southern 
Department of the American army. Their friend- 
ship had begun at Boston with the first enthusiastic 
outburst of the revolution, and had steadfastly ma- 
tured in the camp and the council. 

He bad been intrusted with almost dictatorial 
powers, and he knew that the eyes of the confeder- 
ation were upon him. He was fully aware of the 
discipline and strength of the magnificent soldiery 
in his front; that they were led by men whose 
honor was dearer, by far, to them than life, to whom 
disgrace and defeat meant ruin and shame. Greene 
knew the desperate straits to which he had driven 
his adversary, and the obstinacy that characterized 
his nature. He sadly knew the want of discipline 
in his own hastily-gathered forces, and how inferior 
were their arms ; that the larger part of them had 
never faced a British column with their dreadful 
" push of the bayonet" ; that few of his militia 


had ever endured the suspense and terror of a can- 
nonade, while compelled to inaction themselves. 
He hardly hoped for victory; but he was confident 
that he could wound and cripple his adversary and 
prevent that adversary from destroying his army. 
He trusted that the militia would so stagger and 
demoralize the British columns that when they 
encountered his regular troops they would fall a 
prey to the Continental line as they did at Cow- 
pens. Desiring that in all things this battle should 
be a repetition of that, he seems to have endeavored 
to imitate Morgan in the details and particulars of 
that splendid achievement. 

"When his arrangements were completed, Greene 
passed along the first line. The day was hot, and, hold- 
ing his hat in one hand, he was wiping the perspiration 
from his ample forehead with the other. His voice was 
clear and firm as he called his men's attention to the 
strength of their position, and, like Morgan at the Cowpens, 
AND THEN YOU MAY FALL BACK !' Then taking his posi- 
tion with the Continentals, he held himself in readiness 
to go wherever his duty might call him." 

The only error in this statement is that it was 
TWO, not three, rounds which Greene required. The 
quotation above is taken from "The Life of Major 
General Nathanael Greene," by his grandson George 
Washington Greene, vol. 3, page 196. 

The error was from inadvertence, not intentional ; 
for on pages 143-4 of the same volume, the author 


gives this account of Morgan's speech and require- 
ment of his troops at Cowpens. Addressing the 
militia, Morgan 

"Bade them call to mind his own long experience 
and unvarying fortune, and exhorted them to take confi- 
dence from his example, be firm and steady and above all 
aim true. ' Give me TWO FIRES, at killing distance^ he 
exclaimed, ^and I will make the victory sure /' " 

The author says he received the knowledge of 
this incident from "tradition"- no doubt a direct 
tradition from his grandfather, and handed down 
from sire to son as one of the circumstances of this 
battle often repeated around the fireside. 

It is a fact so significant as to become a pivotal 
one in the further narrative of this battle. I verily 
believe that "upon this rock" the North Carolina 
militia may rest their vindication against the asper- 
sions cast upon them in history, and that neither the 
excuses and pretexts of defeated soldiers, nor the 
jealousies of States, nor the slander of enemies, nor 
the oft-repeated misrepresentations of careless and 
superficial writers, can drive them from this solid 
foundation of eternal truth and justice. When this 
incident and order, now established in history, shall 
be accepted as truth, it is easy to demonstrate, from 
the testimony of eye-witnesses and participants in 
this battle, that the requirement of General Greene 
was fulfilled; that the order given to the North 

Carolina militia by him in person was obeyed, and 
that their 

"Twice-lit tongue of bolted flame 
Blazed full upon their foemen."* 

I propose to fortify my position, that General 
Greene gave this order, or made the requirement 
of only " Two Fires" from the North Carolina 
militia, by the testimony of other authors and 

Johnson, in his Life of Greene, vol. i, p. 378, 
says, that the 

' ' Orders to the first line (at Cowpens) were to deliver 
two deliberate discharges at the distance of fifty yards 
and then to retire." 

Lee, in his Memoirs, page 227, repeats this 
speech in these words: 

"If you will pour in but two volleys, at killing dis- 
tance, I will take upon myself to secure victory." 

All historians agree that "two rounds" were 
required by Morgan, and then the militia were to 
fall back. 

In further confirmation of George Washington 
Greene, that this same order was given the North 
Carolina militia at Guilford Court-House, I add 
other testimony. Garden, who was one of Lee's 
Legion, and heard the speech, says: 

*J. W. Rumple, poem on this battle. 


"The North Carolina militia were assured by General 
Greene that if they would only preserve their station 
long enough to give their enemy two fires they should 
obtain his free permission to retire from the field." 
Garden" 1 s Anecdotes, p. 40. 

Gordon's History, vol. 4, page 55, has also this 
language : 

"General Stevens had the address to prevent his 
brigade from receiving any bad impression from the 
retreating North Carolinians by giving out that they had 
orders to retire after discharging their pieces. To cherish 
this idea he ordered his men to open their files to favor 
their passage." 

It is evident that General Stevens and his whole 
command were apprised of the order to the North 
Carolina militia (as they should have been) to 
prevent surprise and panic in their ranks by the 
retreat of the North Carolinians in their front. 
Gordon affects to believe this was a ruse of General 
Stevens, but in this he is manifestly in error. The 
order was given just as General Stevens commu- 
nicated it to his command. 

Rev. E. W. Caruthers, D. D., who wrote the Life 
of Rev. Dr. David Caldwell in 1842, had been over 
the battle-field of Guilford Court-House very often 
in company with the soldiers who participated in 
the battle and had conversed with many old people 
of the neighborhood who knew its history from 
their cotemporaries, and was therefore familiar with 


the incidents and traditions of the battle. Robert 
Rankin, a member of the Buffalo Church, often 
pointed out the different localities of the field, 
especially on the left, where Rankin fought under 
Colonel Campbell among the North Carolina rifle- 
men.' With this familiar knowledge of events, Dr. 
Caruthers assumes, in his Life of Caldwell, as an 
established fact, known by everybody, that the 
militia were ordered to fire twice and then retreat. 


Speaking of Captain Forbis' command, page 236, 
he says: 

"They stood firm until they had fired twice, accord- 
ing to orders." 

Again, he says : 

" They were placed in the front rank, stood firm and 
fired the number of times prescribed in the general 
order. Forbis himself fired the first gun in that division, 
and killed his man." 

There are several incidental allusions to this 
" order" to fire twice, and always as one of the 
unquestionable facts connected with the battle. 

It is not, however, emphasized because the Doctor 
ivas writing the biography of a minister of the 
Gospel, and not a defence of the North Carolina 
militia, and the order was only a collateral fact in 
the narrative. 

Subsequently, in 1856, Dr. Caruthers, in his 
Sketches^-Second Series vindicated the North 


Carolina militia from the charge of inefficiency in 
the battle. 

It was indeed a fact well known, and often spoken 
of by old persons to succeeding generations ; and 
it is incomprehensible that a circumstance so well 
known and understood should have been omitted in 
his Memoirs, by Colonel Lee, who must have been 
cognizant of it, for he was on the front line when the 
order was given. It is inexplicable that Johnson, 
too, who had access to General Greene's correspond- 
ence and papers, should have suppressed it, while 
he gives great prominence to the like order of 
General Morgan at Cowpens. 

I have in my possession also an interesting letter 
from Captain James F. Johnson, of Charlotte, North 
Carolina, giving me the statement of Abram Forney, 
of Lincoln County, who remained from Pickens' 
brigade to participate in the impending battle. 
Forney states distinctly that it was " two rounds," 
and adds that his portion of the line obeyed the 

There can be nothing settled, by testimony, more 
certainly than the fact that the No-rth Carolina 
militia were, by the personal order of General 
Greene, directly instructed to fire twice, and assured 
that he required no more of them. And it is the 
failure to observe and state this all-important fact 
that has placed these troops in a false light before 
their posterity. When we reflect for a moment, 
this order is so reasonable and natural that we 

cannot doubt the truth of the assertion that it was 

The North Carolinians were armed with their 
hunting rifles. They carried their powder in a 
powder-horn with a charger attached. Their bul- 
lets and patching were in a pouch to their leftside, 
and the tallow to grease the patching under a spring 
in the stock of the rifle. To load a rifle required 
that the powder be measured in the charger and 
poured carefully into the small muzzle bore of the 
rifle. The patching was to be greased and placed 
over the muzzle and the ball placed upon it and 
pressed into the gun. A knife was then used to 
cut off the surplus patching. The ball was to be 
rammed down the gun with a ramrod, which was 
then to be replaced in the thimbles along the barrel. 
The last operation was to prime the pan in the 
flint and steel lock before the rifleman was ready 
to fire upon his enemy. The -operation required at 
least three minutes to perform it. 

If the British line were fired upon at fifty yards, 
they could be over the intervening ground in less 
than fifty seconds, or if at one hundred yards, in 
one and a half minutes. So that, unless the British 
line was repulsed in its advance by the deadliness 
of the fire, they would be upon the militia before 
it was possible to load three times, or, if the opera- 
tion of .loading were delayed, by trepidation or 
accident, before they could fire twice. 

It is evident that General Greene, as well as 
every reasonable person, expected that the militia 


would give way whenever the bayonet did reach 
them ; for against it they had no arm of defence 
nor discipline to beat it back. Johnson well remarks, 
in speaking of the terror of the bayonet, that 
" nothing but the absolute subjection of every 
human feeling to the restraints of discipline can 
dissipate the real or imagined terrors of such a 
conflict;" and L,ee has said that "to expose militia 
to such a charge, without discipline or arms to 
repel it, is murder." Therefore, General Greene 
instructed them, so they could understand it, to 
fire until the bayonet did reach them, which he 
calculated would be two rounds, and then to retire. 
Otherwise it would have been to expect more of them 
than of the conquerors of Ferguson at King's 

The sequel will show that the North Carolinians 
disobeyed no order in retreating before the bayonet, 
and that they performed the whole duty required 
of them, and if the day had gone as did Cowpens, 
the order of Greene to the militia would, most prob- 
ably, not have been suppressed. 

General Greene having now retired to the Con- 
tinental line, exhorted the second Maryland, which 
was a fresh regiment, though regulars, to firmness 
and courage. He was no more on the front line, 
and as to its conduct he could only afterwards 
speak from hearsay. 

The British army having completed its array, 
advanced with that steadiness and coolness charac- 


teristic of veteran and disciplined soldiers. The 
ground, on the north side of the road, is compara- 
tively level for several hundred yards in front of 
the position occupied by Brigadier General Eaton's 
brigade, and being an open field, the line of the 
enemy, with their bright uniforms, presented a 
tempting mark to the riflemen. Impatient to fire 
and have time to reload for a second discharge, they 
threw in their first fire at one hundred and fifty 
yards a distance at which an ordinary rifleman 
could bring down a turkey or a deer at almost every 
shot, and it is not surprising that they felt sure of 
hitting the scarlet body of a British soldier. 

Lieutenant Colonel Webster, seeing the effect of 
this first fire, and desiring to reach the militia before 
it could be repeated, rode to the front and gave the 
order to charge and he himself headed the advance. 

Colonel Tarleton, who was in the road, in the 
rear of Webster's brigade, and in full view of its 
advance against Baton's brigade, thus describes the 
scene transpiring before his eyes: 

"The order and coolness of that part of Webster's 
brigade which advanced across the open ground exposed 
to the enemy* s fire cannot be sufficiently extolled. The 
extremities were not less gallant, but were more pro- 
tected by the woods in which they moved. The militia 
allowed the front line to approach within 150 yards 
before they gave their fire." 

Stedman, the English historian, who was the 


Commissary General of Cornwallis, and was also a 
spectator of the scene, repeats this account of Web- 
ster's advance and vouches for Tarleton's general 
description of the battle. Colonel Lee, who knew 
Stedman's character well, and the incidents of the 
whole campaign, in correcting an unintentional 
error into which Stedman had fallen about the 
defeat *of Pyle, says: "I have acknowledged my 
conviction of Stedman's impartiality and respect 
for truth." Therefore, this account of Tarleton's 
comes, endorsed by Stedman, and Stedman's char- 
acter is endorsed by Lee. 

Tarleton's statement is a prominent and important 
fact, because, if "the order and coolness of" Web- 
ster's brigade under the fire of the North Carolina 
militia cannot be "sufficiently extolled," the fire 
must have been very deadly and continuous. 

Tarleton and Stedman would not acknowledge 
the insufficiency of the English language to describe 
this charge unless it was made in the face of a gall- 
ing and destructive fire. The tribute to the "cool- 
ness and courage" of Webster's brigade involves 
the highest tribute to the firmness of the North 
Carolina brigade. 

Another- English historian, Lamb, who was at 
that time an officer of the Thirty-third regiment 
and participated in this charge, has also quoted 
Tarleton's language with approbation, and in order 
to give further and greater emphasis to the coolness 
and courage of Webster's brigade, he says : 


"As the author belonged to Colonel Webster's brigade, 
he is enabled (and the reader Xvill naturally expect it of 
him) to state some circumstances, unnoticed by any his- 
torian, from his own personal observation. After the 
brigade formed across the open ground, Colonel Webster 
rode on to the front and gave the word, ' Charge ! ' 
Instantly the movement was made in excellent order at 
a sharp run, with arms charged ; when arrived within 
forty yards of the enemy's line it was perceived that their 
whole force had their arms presented and resting on a 
rail fence, the common partition in America. They were 
taking aim with the nicest precision. 

" "Twixt host and host but narrow space was left 
A dreadful interval, and front to front, 
Presented, stood in terrible array.' 

"At this awful period a general pause took place; 
both parties surveyed each oilier a moment with most 
anxious suspense. Colonel Webster then rode forward 
in front of the Twenty-third regiment and said, with 
more than his usual commanding voice, which was well 
known to his brigade, ' Come on, my brave Fusileers ! ' 
This operated like an inspiring voice. They rushed 
forward amidst the enemy* s fire. Dreadful ivas tlie havoc 
on both sides. 

" ' Amazing scene ! 
What showers of mortal hail, what flaky fires !' 

"At last the Americans gave way and the brigade 
advanced to the attack of the second line."* 

Lamb wrote his work in 1809, after seeing other 

*Lamb's History of the American Revolution, p. 361. 

accounts of this battle, arid felt constrained to give 
his personal recollections of this particular part of 
the engagement, because he was an active partici- 
pant in it and no other historian had described the 
action in detail in that part of the field. This 
author is one of the highest respectability and is 
frequently quoted by American historians. In 
Carrington's " Battles of the American Revolution," 
a standard work of recent date, copious quotations 
are made from Lamb. He is also quoted by George 
Washington Greene in his biography of the General. 
Lamb's work was published by subscription, and 
among the list of subscribers are most of the noble- 
men and literati of his day. Lamb was a teacher 
in a high school in Scotland and a man of letters 
as well as a soldier. 

Can any one doubt the truth of such a statement, 
coining from a participant in the scene, who gives 
such emphasis and particularity to details, and who 
is of unimpeachable character for truth and intelli- 
gence ? 

I can safely rest the reputation of that part of 
the North Carolina militia under General Eaton, 
on these splendid tributes to their courage and 

It establishes the fact that they had fired once 
and reloaded, and when the enemy were in forty 
paces were resting their rifles on the rails and aim- 
ing with the " nicest precision" at their foe. So 
appalling was their martial array that even the 


British veterans^ who had faced so many dangers 
from Quebec to Camden, paused and stood aghast 
at the spectacle, and that only the magic voice of 
their commander, accompanied with his reckless 
exposure in their front, could prevail upon them to 

The " havoc " was great, says Lamb, and we may 
well believe it. Riflemen who could take a squirrel's 
head from the highest tree would not be likely to 
miss a scarlet uniform at forty paces. 

In Foote's Sketches of Virginia, Second Series, 
p. 149, is a biography of the Rev. Samuel Houston, 
a Presbyterian minister, whose simple epitaph tells 
the story of his useful and honorable and pious life : 








Mr. Houston was a student at Lexington Academy, 
but responded to a call for volunteers, and was one 
of General Stevens' command at this battle, and 
kept a diary of his movements from February a6th 
to March 23d, in which are related many interest- 


ing incidents. He was fond of telling the story of 
this battle, and thus describes its opening: 

"The Virginia line was in the forest, the Carolina 
militia partly in the forest and partly in the skirt of the 
forest and partly behind the fence inclosing the open 
space, across which the British force was advancing with 
extended front. 

"According to orders, the Carolina line, when the 
enemy were very near, gave their fire, which on the left 
of the British line was deadly, and having repeated it, 
retreated. Some remained to give a third fire and some 
made such haste in retreat as to bring reproach upon 
themselves as deficient in bravery, while their neighbors 
behaved like heroes." 

Here is a direct confirmation of L,amb's account 
of the "deadly fire" on Webster's brigade, and a 
positive assertion that the fire was " repeated," and 
that some remained to fire the third time, and that 
they acted " according to orders." 

That there was "haste in the retreat" when it 
began, is conceded ; .but no military man or intelli- 
gent reader of the history of militia contests would 
have expected it to be otherwise. The -Virginians 
and North Carolinians, being undisciplined troops, 
were alike disorderly when retreating from the field. 
The North Carolinians' had done all they were 
commanded or instructed to do, and hastened to the 
rear, where they were ordered to rally again. Mr. 
Houston was frank and just as well as truthful, for 
in describing the advance of the British on Stevens' 


brigade, after the North Carolinians retreated, he 
relates as the first fact occurring that "our brigade 
Major, Mr. Williams, fled." 

The Rev. J. Henry Smith, D. D., one of the most 
distinguished ministers of the Presbyterian Church 
in the South, and for twenty -five years pastor at 
Greensboro, North Carolina, has seen Mr. Houston 
in his old age and knew his character well, and 
testifies to the great esteem and reverence in w T hich 
he was all who knew him. He was one of 
the leading spirits of the Presbyterian Church in 
Virginia in his day. 

These men of North Carolina did their duty, and 
after firing every shot possible, before the bayonet 
was upon them, obeyed orders, and retreated behind 
the second line, who were in readiness to give the 
enemy a similar reception. 

On Butler's side of the road the North Carolina 
militia and Forbis' volunteers gave the British a 
bloody repulse. The Scotch Highlanders, a regi- 
ment of Leslie's brigade, rested its left on the New 
Garden or old Salisbury road, and therefore was 
immediately in front of Butler's militia, chiefly 
from Orange, Granville and Guilford. 

Captain Dugald Stuart, who commanded a com- 
pany in the 7 1 st regiment (called "Scotch High- 
landers") on that day, when writing to a relative 
in Guilford County under date of October 25th, 1825, 
uses the following language: 

"In the advance we received a very deadly Jire from 


the Irish line of the American army, composed of their 
marksmen, lying on the ground behind a rail fence. 

"One-half the Highlanders dropped on that spot. 
There ought to be a very large tumulus on that spot 
where our men were buried."* 

This letter was written by Captain Stuart to a 
relative in Guilford County, who had suggested that 
most of the Highlanders had been killed in the 
charge oil the Continental line, and these particu- 
lars were given to correct that error. 

The centre of the State had among its popula- 
tion, at that period, many Irish and Scotch-Irish, 
and for that reason the militia line was called the 
Irish line. 

The tumulus to which Captain Stuart refers is, 
no doubt, the two large graves, sixteen feet square 
and six feet deep, near the Hoskins residence, 
which were filled with the dead bodies of the English 
army, thus confirming Captain Stuart's memory in 
regard to it. 

A further confirmation of this positive statement 
of Captain Stuart is an extract from " Brown's 
History of the Highland Clans," as 'quoted by 
Caruthers, vol. 2, p. 134: 

"The Americans, covered by a fence in their front, 
reserved their fire till the British were in thirty or forty 
paces, at which distance they opened a destructive fire, 
which annihilated nearly one-third of Webster's brigade." 

The Highlanders, however, were under Leslie, 

*Caruther's Sketches, Second Series, p. 134. 


instead pf Webster, that day, but joined Webster's 

The Hessians were opposed by the left of Butler's 
brigade and the volunteers under Forbis. These lat- 
ter, Lee confesses, were firm and never gave way 
except to sullenly and slowly retreat before the 
English bayonet, and adhered to Campbell's com- 
mand to the very last. 

It was a North Carolina rifle that brought down 
the first English officer in this battle. 

Colonel James Martin, in his petition for a pen- 
sion, thus describes the scene: 

"I was posted on the front line with a company com- 
manded by Captain Forbis, a brave, undaunted fellow. 
We were posted behind a fence, and I told the men to sit 
down until the British, who were advancing, came near 
enough to shoot. When they came within about 100 
yards, a British officer with a drawn sword was driving 
up his men. I asked Captain Forbis if he could take 
him down. He said he could, for he had a good rifle. I 
told him to let him come in fifty yards and then take 
him down, which he did. It was a Captain of the 
British army, and at that instant General Greene sent 
his aid-de-camp to me to go to him, and I went and 
asked him his command. He told me as he had begun 
battle, and I had not a complete regiment, he wished me 
to go with Major Hunter to the court-house, and in case 
of defeat to rally the men, which we did and collected 
about 500 and were marching them to the battle-ground 
when I met General Stevens, of the Virginia corps, 
retreating. I asked him if the retreat was by General 

Greene's orders. He said it was. I then retreated with 
him and ordered the men to repair to the Troublesome 
Iron Works to outfit, as he had ordered me, which we 

It was stated by Peter Rife, of Virginia, one of 
Lee's Legion, to Caruthers, that he witnessed the 
fact with his own eyes, that the men of Guilford 
fired till the Hessians mounted the fence, and then 
clubbed their rifles and fought them back, hand to 
hand. When asked if this was not done by Camp- 
bell's men, he replied indignantly, "No, it was the 
North Carolinians. I sat on my horse and saw 
them with my own eyes." 

Caruthers then remarked to him, " According to 
history, the North Carolina militia did nothing on 
that occasion," and he replied with some sternness : 
"Whoever says the North Carolina militia did 
nothing on that day, says what is false, for I know 

I quote further from Caruthers : J 

"William Montgomery, of Guilford County, who was 
one of Captain Forbis' company and one of the four who 
stood by him to the last, when describing 'the scene in 
after life, usually illustrated it by saying that, after they 
delivered their first fire, which was a deliberate one, with 
their rifles, the part of the British line at which they 
aimed looked like the scattering stalks in a wheat field, 
when the harvest man has passed over it with his cradle.'* 

*Wheeler's Reminiscences, p. 414. 
tCaruthers, Second Series, p. 132. 
JCaruthers, Second Series, p. 134. 

( 353 ) 

As evidence of the coolness and pluck of the 
men of Alamance, Carnthers relates the following 
anecdote : 

"William Paisley, father of the Rev. Samuel Paisley, 
who is yet living, was one of Captain Forbis' neighbors 
and one of his fiunest men. He was one of the last to 
leave the ground, and when about to retreat, on looking 
under the smoke, the British were so near that there 
seemed to be no chance of escape ; and dropping on the 
ground, he lay with his face in the leaves as if he were 
dead. Supposing that he was dead, they rushed by 
without noticing him and engaged with the Virginians. 
As soon as they had done so, he got up, and on looking 
around he saw a British soldier who was a very large 
man, and so much afraid of the rifles that he was keep- 
ing a tree between him and danger, peeping first from 
one side and then the other. He said he thought lie 
would give the cowardly dog one 'pop' at all events, 
and leveling his rifle he laid him on the ground at the 
foot of the tree. ' ' 

Caruthers adds the personal testimony of numer- 
ous others, either soldiers who participated in the 
battle or visitors to it next day, and with whom he 
had conversed, confirmatory of the deadly effect of 
the fire from Butler's brigade and Forbis' men. 
Many of these soldiers survived and were cotempo- 
raries of Doctor Caruthers, who was for many years 
the distinguished pastor of Alamance Presbyterian 
Church and successor to Doctor David Caldwell. 

I copy from "Jefferson's Correspondence," vol. 
i, p. 213, the following letter: 



"RICHMOND March 2ist, 1781. 
4 ' To His Excellency the President of Congress: 

"SiR: The enclosed letter will inform you of the 
arrival of a British fleet in Chesapeake Bay. 

"The extreme negligence of our stationed expresses 
is no doubt the cause, as yet, why no authentic account 
has reached us of a general action, which happened on 
the 1 5th inst. , about a mile and a half from Guilford 
Court- House, between General Greene and Lord Corn- 
wallis. Captain Singleton, an intelligent officer of 
Harrison's artillery, who was in the action, has this 
moment arrived here, and gives the general information 
that both parties were prepared and desirous for action ; 
the enemy were supposed about twenty-five hundred 
strong, our army about four thousand ; that after a very 
warm and general engagement of about an hour and a 
half, we retreated about a mile and a half from the field, 
in good order, having, as he supposed, between two and 
three hundred killed and wounded the enemy between 
five and seven hundred killed and wounded ; that we lost 
four pieces of artillery ; that the militia, as ivell as regu- 
lars, behaved exceedingly ivell; that General Greene, he 
believes, would have renewed the action the next day, 
had it not proved rainy, and would renew it as soon as 
possible, as he supposes ; that the whole of his troops, 
both regulars and militia, were in high spirits and wish- 
ing a second engagement ; that the loss has fallen pretty 
equally on the militia and regulars ; that General Stevens 
received a ball through the thigh ; Major Anderson, of 
Maryland, was killed, and Captain Barrett, of Washing- 
ton's cavalry ; Captain Fauntleroy, of the same cavalry, 
was shot through the thigh and left on the field. 

"Captain Singleton, having left the camp the day after 


the battle, does not speak from particular returns, none 
such having been inen made. * * * 

"I have the honor to be, with very high respect and 
esteem, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble 
servant, "Tn. JEFFERSON." 


The statement of Captain Singleton, who com- 
manded the artillery, which was stationed immedi- 
ately between the two North Carolina brigades on 
the. front line, and had the best opportunity to 
observe their conduct, and who was a Virginian, in 
no way partial to North Carolina, "thai the militia, 
as well as the regulars, behaved exceedingly ivell" is 
certainly entitled to very great weight on this dis- 
puted point. He was not only an eye-witness and 
participant in the battle, but his movements 
depended on the action of the North Carolina 
militia and his own safety was involved in their 
conduct. I cannot imagine a witness whose testi- 
mony could be more pertinent and reliable than 
that of Captain Singleton. 

We may further consider that he did not leave 
Greene's camp until the day after the battle, and 
had therefore an opportunity to converse with his 
fellow soldiers about its incidents and occurrences 
and to get a correct impression of the conduct of the 
troops. He was no doubt a messenger to convey 
tidings of this battle to Governor Jefferson, and had 
no motive to conceal the truth and every inducement 
of honor to tell it. His other statements in regard 
to the battle are correct, and why should we suspect 

that he prevaricated in this one? Where is the 
motive or the reason for an}' such suspicion ? There 
was no man in Greene's whole command who bore 
a higher character than Singleton or who more 
heartily despised a falsehood. 

Jefferson could not have misunderstood him, 
eager, as he evinces himself to he, for news from 
the battle. We may imagine that the two talked 
long about it, and if Singleton had said that the 
North Carolina militia shamefully fled and lost 
the battle, Jefferson would not have been slow to 
hear it and denounce- it. The conclusion is, that 
Singleton spoke the truth. 

I have thus endeavored to sustain, by the testi- 
mony of credible witnesses, the affirmation that the 
North Carolina militia performed the duty assigned 
them, in this battle, by the order of General Greene, 
delivered to them "in person, on the field, and that 
this duty was well performed by giving the enemy 
two well-directed and "deadly" fires. 

To summarize the argument on the first point, 
that the order, to fire twice and then retire, was 
given to the militia, we have the uiicontradicted 
testimony of Garden, who heard it, of George Wash- 
ington Greene, who received it as a family tradL 
tioii, and of Caruthers, who heard it from numerous 
soldiers who were in the battle. No author nor 
writer has ever contradicted or doubted the testi- 
mony, and the characters of the witnesses are above 
reproach. The fact is, therefore, established, as far 
as human testimony can establish any fact. 


On the other point, that the order was obeyed in 
letter and spirit, we have the testimony of the Eng- 
lish authors Tarleton, Stedman and Lamb, who 
were present and either participating or observing 
the facts about which they wrote, and of Captain 
Dugald Stuart, whose men fell under this "deadly" 

On the American side we have the testimony of 
the Rev. Samuel Houston, a man of exalted char- 
acter and an eye-witness of what lie relates; of 
Captain Anthony Singleton, of the artillery, who 
was in line with the North Carolina militia ; and 
Peter Rife, a soldier, who denounces as false the 
assertion "that the North Carolina militia did 
nothing.' 1 All these are Virginians fellow-citi- 
-/ens of Lee and Campbell ; Rife, a soldier in 
Lee's command. 

To these we may add the evidence of William 
Montgomery, of Guilford County, who was well 
known to persons yet living, and whose character 
as Christian, patriot and soldier no man would dare 
assail where Montgomery was known. 

With such a u cloud of witnesses," may we not 
be pardoned for disbelieving the account written by 
Lee in 1809, twenty-eight years after the battle, 
from memory alone ? That memory, too, was so 
treacherous and inaccurate, in regard to this very 
battle, that, in describing the positions of the 
American troops, he placed Law-son's brigade of 
Virginia militia on the front line, and speaks of it 
as receiving the charge of Webster's brigade; and 


placed all the North Carolina militia on the south 
side of the New Garden road errors so palpable that 
no subsequent author has ever repeated them If 
Lee could not even remember where the North Caro- 
lina militia were, how could he recall the picture of 
their flight, as he rhetorically describes it ? The 
errors of Lee, in his Memoirs, are so numerous that 
Johnson, after exposing many of them, speaks of 
the "general inaccuracy" of the whole narrative. 
But Lee has written so charmingly that his book 
has become a popular favorite, and, indeed, when 
he is accurate, no one describes the incidents of that 
period with more force and beauty than he. 

Campbell's statement is contained in a letter 
written to the Rev. Mr. Gumming, in September, 
1781, and says "a whole brigade of North Carolina 
militia abandoned their party from the first onset."'" 
Lee does not confine the abandonment to one 
brigade, but includes both in his exuberant fancy. 
Of such like inconsistent accusations it was said, 
in Holy Writ, a but neither so did their witness 
agree together." Both Lee and Campbell profess 
to describe what they saw, but they did not see it 
alike, or did not see it at all. 

We will resume the narrative. 

The British not only received a galling fire from 
the front, but Washington's corps on the right and 
Campbell's on the left poured in a heavy fire on 
their flanks. 

*Gibbs' Doc. History. 


It was so heavy on the left flank that Colonel 
Webster wheeled the 236 and 33d regiments to the 
left, so as to face Lynch and Kirkwood, while the 
Light infantry of the Guards and the Yagers, under 
General O'Hara, turned obliquely across the field 
and formed to their extreme left, and the front of the 
battle, at that point, was nearly at a right angle to 
the former line. This movement left a vacancy in 
the British. line next to the old Salisbury road, 
formerly Webster's right flank, and into this the 
Second battalion of Guards was inarched and 
continued to move eastwardly, resting their right 
on the road. 

Lynch and Kirkwood being hard pressed, re- 
treated under cover of Washington's cavalry and 
formed on the extreme right of Lawson's brigade 
of Virginians. 

Colonel Webster was now free to readjust his 
old line and make it co-extensive with the Virgin- 
ians in his front, the only change being that the 
Second battalion of- Guards now formed his 

The North Carolina militia had left the field and 
retreated towards the Court-House. Their retreat 
was disorderly and resulted in a flight. They were 
without discipline, and the flight became a rout, 
and in this consisted their misfortune that day ; 
one common to militia everywhere. 

On the left of the American line the militia had 
generally been driven from their position, but the 


iire from Campbell's corps became so deadly that 
Colonel Norton, with the First battalion of Guards, 
was ordered to join the British line on the right 
and oppose themselves to Campbell. 

As the Hessian regiment passed the line of the 
militia, it wheeled to the right, and, in line with 
Norton, faced Campbell. Campbell was reinforced 
by many of Butler's brigade, who retreated in that 
direction, and by all of Forbis' men, who formed 
on Campbell's right. Lee's Legion was on that flank. 
The ;ist Regiment, of Highlanders, continued on 
its course up the road and soon engaged Stevens' 
brigade of Virginians. 

It had been the intention of Campbell to fall back 
and put his corps in line on the left of Stevens, but 
the Hessians passed so rapidly in his front as to 
cut him off. He was also delayed by his conflict 
with Norton on the left. The riflemen, retiring 
deeper into the forest, took to the trees and made 
it so hot for the Guards that they \vere compelled 
to retreat in great disorder. Cornwallis came in 
person to their rescue, and by riding in their front 
and exposing himself to imminent danger*, succeeded 
in rallying them. The Hessians being now joined 
again by the Guards, made a combined charge and 
drove Campbell to the south, and entirely separated 
his command from the American army, so that in 
fact two distinct battles were raging at the same 

About one-quarter of a mile on the southeast of 

( 3 6 i ) 

Campbell's first position, Cornwallis, who was fol- 
lowing up Norton and the Hessians, had a large 
iron-gray horse shot from under him. The spot 
is now marked by a persimmon tree, a century old, 
whose identity is well authenticated by tradition. 

Campbell would retreat and fire, then the British 
would fall back, and using the bayonet, push the 
riflemen back again ; so it raged and alternated 
between them until Campbell was driven to a high 
range of hills, or a little mountain range, as it is 
sometimes called, about one mile from Campbell's 
first position. Here the riflemen began to gain a 
decided advantage and to drive the Hessians before 
them, when Lee, unexpectedly, left Campbell's flank 
and Tarleton appeared on the scene. 

We must now return to the front of the Virginia 

The British artillery had advanced, supported by 
Tarleton's Legion. Lieutenant O'Hara of the 
artillery had been killed early in the action. Corn- 
wallis had abandoned the right and come to the 
left of his line, riding a dragoon's horse. 

Singleton had retired with his guns and taken 
his position on a high ridge to the left of the Mary- 
land brigade, where the new Salisbury road 
intersects the old Salisbury road, west of Hunting- 
Creek, and quite a commanding eminence. 

The right of the British line being weakened by 
the engagement of the Hessians and First battalion 
of Guards with Campbell's corps, the 23d joined 


the yist in its assault upon Stevens, while Webster 
assailed Lawson with the 33d, in conjunction with 
the Light infantry and Yagers on his left, and the 
Second battalion of Guards on his right. 

Lawson 's brigade soon gave way, and in its 
retreat wheeled upon its left flank as a pivot, so as 
to bring the brigade to the south side of the road, 
in the rear of Stevens, and thence moved along that 
side of the road, avoiding the field at the Bruce road, 
and clinging to the forest to escape from Tarleton's 
dragoons. Washington conducted them to the 
new Salisbury road, and Kirk wood and Lynch 
marched to a position on the right of the Conti- 
nental line; Washington remaining on the ridge in 
the new Salisbury road, where he could overlook 
the field and protect the left flank of the Conti- 
nental line. 

The contest between Stevens' brigade and the 
7ist and 23d was protracted and stubborn. 

Mr. Houston, who was in this brigade, says that 
they drove the British back three times and were 
as often compelled to retreat before the bayonet. 
Lee having gone south with Campbell, And the left 
of Stevens' brigade being thus without 'any protec- 
tion, Tarleton was ordered to charge them on that 
flank, and they were compelled to give way. Gen- 
eral Stevens had, in the meantime, been shot 
through the thigh and was unable to remain on 
the field. 

Colonel Webster having driven Lawson from his 


front, moved rapidly through. the forest in a direct 
line with the 33d and the Light infantry and Yagers. 
The Second battalion of Guards were dropped, per- 
haps, to assist in the assault on Stevens. 

Webster soon reached the Bruce road, on the 
western edge of the old field, in which the Conti- 
nental line was drawn up. 

They were about 200 yards apart at this point of 
the American line. The hill from either position 
descends rapidly, and in the valley was -a ravine 
where the water runs in wet weather. The old 
field had not been in cultivation for some years, 
and was grown up with weeds, and here and there 
were small scrubby pines and bushes, but not so as 
to obstruct the view across it. 

Colonel Webster did not stop to count* the odds 
against him, or to wait for the Second battalion of 
Guards, but immediately sounded the charge in 
front of the ist Maryland regiment and Hawes' 
Virginians. The Americans waited for the charge 
until the British line was within forty (40) paces 
of their front, when they poured in upon them a 
most destructive fire, and followed it up with the 
u push of the bayonet," as they did at-Cowpens. 
Webster's line at first recoiled, then broke and fled 
in disorder to the forest, out of which they had 

The Mary landers followed up this brilliant 
charge until the British troops under Webster were 
routed and scattered in the forest. Colonel Webster 


himself received a musket-ball in his knee, from 
which he died a few weeks thereafter.* 

The battle on the American side had so far been 
a counterpart of Cowpens, and it only remained for 
Greene to push his victory to completion as Morgan 
did. To do this, however, would have required a 
general advance of the whole Contin-viitfil line. If 
the movement succeeded, the victory would be com- 
plete and glorious, but if his left were to give way, 
or it should be true, as he then feared, that Campbell 
had been driven from the field and the Hessians 
were coming on his flank and rear, then the advance 
would have been a disaster. 

Prudent and cautious, as well as brave and stub- 
born in fight, Greene determined not to risk his 
army for glory not to sacrifice the only remaining 
army in the South to personal ambition. The con- 
duct of the 2d Maryland soon demonstrated the 
wisdom of his decision. The ist Maryland was 
ordered to fall back to its original strong position 
on the brow of the hill across the ravine. It had 
hardly begun this retrograde movement before the 
Second battalion of Guards, now under Lieutenant 
Colonel Stuart, O'Hara being wounded, swept 
around the hill, at the fork of the Bruce road, and 
moving along the valley, to the right and south of 
the old Salisbury road, struck the 2d Maryland 
regiment, under Colonel Ford. Scarcely any resist- 

*I have in my possession a silver knee buckle, with the initial W 
on it, found near this spot. 

ance was made by this regiment; it is not even 
said in history that they fired a gun? 

Colonel Washington, who was on the ridge above 
this little valley with his cavalry, witnessed this 
inglorious flight of the Mary landers. He had with 
him one company.of North Carolina cavalry, forty 
men, under the Marquis of Bretigny, and a fine 
company of Virginia volunteer cavalry from Prince 
Edward, under Captain Thomas Watkins, and in 
this company was Peter Francisco the giant.* 

Washington sounded the bugle for a charge, and 
pushing down the slope of the ridge, leaped across 
the branch in his front and rushed in a full gallop 
upon the rear of the Guards, and passing through, 
slew them right and left. Lieutenant Holconib, of 
Captain Watkins' company, relates " that the strong 
arm of Francisco leveled three of the enemy during 
one charge and eleven before the fight was over." 

In Foote's Sketches of North Carolina"}* it is said : 

"The carnage was dreadful. At this time it was that 
Lieutenant Hoi comb related to Dr. Jones, of Nottoway, 
that the noted Francisco performed a deed of blood with- 
out a parallel. In that short renconntre he cut down 
eleven men with his brawny arm and terrible broad- 
sword. One of the Guards thrust his bayonet, and, in 
spite of the parrying O f PVancisco's sword, pinned his leg 
to the horse. Francisco forebore to strike, but assisted 
him to extricate his bayonet. As the soldier turned and 

*Foote's Sketches of Virginia, First Series, p. 403. 
fFoote's Sketches of North Carolina, p. 278. 

( 366 ) 

fled, he made a furious blow with his sword and cleft the 
poor fellow's head down to his shoulders." 

Washington had hardly passed, like a destroying 
angel, through this devoted regiment of gallant 
Englishmen, in this valley of death, before the ist 
Maryland arrived on the scene. It wheeled to 
the south and rushed like a whirlwind on Stuart's 
left flank, bearing down all before it, slaughtering 
its victims and piling up its sacrifices as it rolled 
on. But still Stuart refused to fly. He stood like 
a lion at bay and repelled the fury of his adversaries. 
Cornwallis arrived at the fork of the road and looked 
down upon the struggle with dismay. Then gallop- 
ing down the hill to the old white oak at its base, 
(now decaying under the weight of a century of 
years), looked into the face of the unequal combat. 
Reascending the hill, he ordered Lieutenant McLeod, 
who had come up with the artillery, to open with 
grape-shot upon the mass of struggling soldiers 
beneath him. O'Hara, who lay bleeding in the 
road, remonstrated and begged that his men be 
spared, but Cornwallis was determined and des- 
perate and repeated the order. O'Hara-hid his face 
in his hands and refused to witness the slaughter. 
The remedy was dreadful and sanguinary, but it 
was effectual. The combatants separated and the 
few brave men that escaped the awful carnage came, 
limping up the hill, for protection behind the guns 
which had so recently been trained upon them. 


Colonel Gunoy had been unhorsed early in the 
charge, and Lieutenant Colonel John Eager How- 
ard, * the same who had handled the regiment so 
skillfully at Cowpens, took the command. Major 
Anderson, of this regiment, was killed. Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Stuar,t, of the Guards, was also among 
the slain. Johnson gives this thrilling account of 
his death : 

"Two combatants particularly attracted the attention 
of those around them. These were Colonel Stuart of 
the Guards and Captain John Smithf of the Marylanders, 
both men conspicuous for nerve and sinew. They had 
also met before on some occasion, and had vowed that 
their next meeting should end in blood. Regardless of 
the bayonets that were clashing around them, they rushed 
at each other with a fury that admitted of but one result. 
The quick pass of Stuart's small sword was skillfully 
put by with the left hand, whilst the heavy sabre of his 
antagonist cleft the Briton to the spine. In one moment 
the American was prostrate on the lifeless body of his 
^nemy; and in the next was pressed beneath the weight 
of the soldier who had brought him to the ground. 
These are not imaginary incidents they are related on 
the best authority." 

NOTE. On the 14th of November, 1781, Greene, writing to a friend 
about Colonel Howard, said : " He deserves a statue of gold no less 
than the Roman and Grecian heroes." Colonel Howard was, after 
the revolution, Governor of Maryland and served in Congress. 

fCaptain Smith survived the struggle for liberty. I have in my 
possession a sword exhumed near the scene of this conflict, in 1866, 
which is undoubtedly the one Colonel Stuart wore. It is beauti- 
fully chased with a coat of arms and is of the finest steel. Its scab- 
bard is German silver. 


The separation of the combatants enabled Gen- 
eral Greene to restore order to his line. The two 
pieces of artillery, lost at the new Salisbury road, 
were regained and placed on the left flank in the 
old Salisbury road. The ist Maryland was sub- 
stituted on the left of the line for the 2d Maryland, 
which had fled. Lynch and Kirk wood formed the 
centre, with the other two pieces of artillery under 
Lieutenant Finley. Hawes' and Green's regiments 
were on the right ; Colonel Washington with his 
cavalry was in the concavity of the semi-circle in 
the rear. 

Webster had rallied on the British left, and had 
made an unsuccessful charge, on Hawes and Kirk- 
wood, and been repulsed. The remnant of the Second 
battalion of Guards, though few, had come into 
line. The yist and 23d, now disengaged, were 
coming up on the right. A cannonade and occa- 
sional musketry fire were going on across the ravine 
between the contending forces. 

Lee had suddenly left Campbell, without warning, 
and was now an idle spectator of this scene from 
the Court-House hill, across Hunting Creek, with- 
out notifying Greene of his presence, or offering to 
cover the flanks. :i: Tarleton had been sent hur- 
riedly to bring Norton, with the First battalion of 
Guards, to the field for a final onslaught on the 
American line, and finding that Campbell was un- 
protected, had ordered the Hessians to fire, and 
then rushed on the riflemen under cover of the 

*Johnson, vol. 2, p. 14. 


smoke and cut them to pieces. Colonel Campbell 
never forgave Lee this desertion. He retired from 
Greene's army shortly after in disgust.* 

Colonel Campbell, with his Virginia and North 
Carolina riflemen, wer^ the last to fire a gun on 
this bloody field, and were still firing when Greene 
sounded the retreat. They became scattered after 
the charge of Tarleton upon them, and made their 
way, as best they could, to the camp of Greene next 

The American commander, having now lost his 
militia from the field , and the ad Maryland also, 
and Campbell's fate being unknown, and Lee inac- 
tive in the fight, perceived that the enemy were 
about to outnumber him in the charge, which they 
were preparing, and concluded to save his army by 
a timely retreat. 

Green's regiment of Virginians were thrown in 
front to hold the line, while Washington covered 
the retreat through the rear of the old field and 
across the valley of Hunting Creek, until they 
came to the high-road leading north to McQtiis- 
tian's Bridge, on Reedy Fork Creek, three miles 

Green checked the feeble pursuit of the enemy, 
and Washington easily drove Tarleton back to his 
lines, while General Greene leisurely pursued his 
retreat to Reedy Fork, where he waited to collect 
his stragglers and rest his men. He himself was 
so prostrated by the long and arduous labors 

*Draper, p. 394. 


through which he had been passing for weeks, that, 
in this hour of relaxation, he fainted from sheer 
exhaustion, and for awhile was unconscious. He 
wrote his wife after the battle that he had not taken 
off his clothes for six weeks. 

Lee, though in half a mile of the rear of Greene's 
retreating army, did not join it, but pursued his 
own line of retreat by the High Rock Ford road, 
and came into camp twenty-four hours after Greene. 

Cornwallis, who had but little means of transpor- 
tation, and a very scant supply of provisions and 
medicines, found his ammunition nearly exhausted, 
more than one-third of his force (over 600) killed or 
wounded. Stuart was cold in death ; O'Hara and 
Howard wounded and sick; Webster, the pride of 
the army, valiant in battle and wise in council, had 
received a mortal wound ; and the mournful spectacle 
of the dead and dying, on every hand, was enough 
to dishearten the British commander. He gathered 
his wounded, as best he could, and buried his dead, 
and realizing that his only safety was now in flight, 
he left the field on the lyth, and placing those of 
his wounded, whom he could not transport, in care 
of the humane Quakers at New Garden Meeting- 
House, he hastened to put the Deep River between 
him and his adversary, and gave no rest to his feet 
until he reached the fork of that river, with the 
Haw, at Ramsey's Mill. Here he could burn a 
bridge behind him on either stream, as necessity 
required. From thence he fled to Wilmington, 
leaving the corpse of Webster in North Carolina, 


near EHzabethtown. He had died near town while 
swung in a litter between two horses. He literally 
died in the flight.* 

In the evening of the battle the weather turned 
suddenly cold and a heavy rain began to fall, lasting 
through the whole night. Many wounded died 
from the dreadful exposure. 

The next morning after the battle, as was the 
English custom, Cornwallis sent his officers to the 
few prisoners he had captured with offers of liberty 
and money, if they would join his service. They 

*I am indebted to Colonel T. D. McDowell, of Bladen County, for 
the following account of Colonel Webster's death : 

"ELIZABETHTOWN, March zoth, 1888. 
"Hon. D. Schenck: 

. " DEAR SIR :-The postmaster has handed me your letter dated in February. I 
have just received it, and give you what information I can in regard to Colonel 

" It seems in those days the army had no ambulances, as at the present day, and 
the wounded men were carried on a litter swung between two horses. It was in 
this manner that Colonel Webster was carried on the retreat from the battle of 
Guilford Court-House. On ascending the hill at Baker's Creek, five miles above 
EHzabethtown, it was first discovered that he was dead. The army marched on 
through the village and cainped two miles below on Brown's Creek, on the planta- 
tion belonging to the Waddell family. Lord Cornwallis stopped in the village and 
got his supper. 

" Captain James Childs, who was well known to the old citizens of Hillsboro, told 
me tha,t he was a small boy, and going to the Waddell mill, with a bag of com on 
a horse, had to pass along by where the army was camped, and he saw the corpse 
of Colonel Webster lyiu'g on a litter between two pine trees. (I have frequently 
seen the stumps of the trees.) When the late Judge Toomer was comparatively a 
young man, he, in company with several other gentlemen, spent a night with Mr. 
Waddell during our court week, and allusion being made to Colonel Webster, it 
was proposed that they should dig open the grave (as the spot was well known to 
an old negro man belonging to the Waddell family). They found the body with 
the sword lying beside it. It looked quite natural, until a puff of wind scattered it 
like dust. The exact spot is now known to no one though it is certain he is buried 
near the stumps referred to. 

" If this information is of any service to you, you are welcome to it. 
"Very respectfully, 



had been confined all that dreary, rainy, cold night 
in a rail pen, herded like cattle, and listened to 
these appeals with silence and sullenness. They 
were then told that the American army had been 
routed and Greene had fled from the State, but still 
these staunch old Whigs, drenched with rain and 
shivering with cold, maintained their stolid indiffer- 

Just then the sound of the morning guns from 
Greene's camp came reverberating from the hills. 
An old Tar Heel, who had squatted in a corner of 
the rail pen, heard the familiar signal, and, rising 
with a smile, he cried out: " LISTEN, HOYS! THK 
OLD COCK is CROWING AGAIN," and a shout of defi- 
ance went up from the rail pen that convinced the 
English ofHcer that patriotism, in the old North 
State, was above the temptation of bribery or the 
intimidation of British power. 

That "old cock" Nathanael Greene, and the 
"blue hen's chickens" around him, continued to 
crow until Cornwallis was admonished of his sins 
and his danger, and prepared for flight. 

Eager to meet the American army, \\hich he had 
been pursuing for two months through mud and 
rain, thirsting for the glory of annihilating his foe, 
Cornwallis had marched out from his camp with 
fluttering banners and martial music to accept the 
challenge of the American General ; he looked with 
pride on the veteran soldiers of his line and the 
splendid officers who led them ; the half-clad soldiers 
of the American armv and the untutored militia of 


the State were contemptible in his eyes. The scene 
at Camdeii was to be repeated the militia would 
flee at his approach, the Continentals would be 
outnumbered and crushed, and Tarleton would 
revenge the defeat of Cowpens by putting the re- 
creating masses to the sword; Greene would for- 
sake the field and find a refuge in the mountains 
of Virginia, and the Royal government would be 
restored in North Carolina. 

These were the exultant visions that floated 
before his lordship's eyes as he gave the command, 
"Forward for Guilford Court-House !" 

He sought the American arm}'- and advanced 
apon the militia, but he found them in " forty 
paces, with their rifles resting on the rails," and 
.liming with the "nicest precision" at his line, and 
the next moment there was "havoc" in Webster's 
brigade. He looked to the right and witnessed 
one-third of the Highlanders drop ; he galloped his 
charger into the midst of the fight, but in a moment 
was unhorsed by the riflemen on the flank; in fury he 
rode to the valley where his Guards were weltering 
in blood, and returned to shoot them down in pro- 
miscuous carnage with his own guns ; he called for 
Webster to lead the last charge for victory, but 
found him in the hands of the surgeon; he 
looked for O'Hara and saw him bleeding at his 
side ; to the inquiry for General Howard came the 
response, "wounded and carried to the rear;" 
ga/ing anxiously at the Guards, who were emerging 
from the smoke and carnage under the hill, he 


missed the stalwart figure of Stuart, now stiff and 
cold in death. Still he hoped for the realization of 
his dreams when he saw the Americans turn from 
the field of blood, and calling for Tarleton, he 
ordered him to charge the retreating foe. Tarleton 
came with a rifle-ball through his hand, but was 
met by Green and Washington and hurled back to 
his commander with disordered ranks. 

The visions of glory had vanished; the truth 
came rushing over his mind that the victor of this 
battle was not the man who held the field, and that 
the ground on which he stood would soon become 
the scene of his captivity if he tarried to rest his 
bleeding cohorts. 

Greene had lost but three hundred and twenty 
(320) men, and by the evening of the iyth, he 
found still around him 1350 Continental soldiers, 
more than 1500 militia, and the 600 riflemen. 

An American officer relates that his compassion 
was so excited by the pitiable condition of the Eng- 
lish army, in their retreat, that he had no heart to 
strike them a blow. The roadside was strewn with 
the dead who had vainly tried to drag their wounded 
bodies along with the retreating army. 

The march was tracked by the blood that flowed 
from the wounds of those who were borne in litters, 
and here and there a soldier, wounded and forsaken, 
begged for mercy and protection. When pressed 
in their camp at Ramsey's Mill, they made a hur- 
ried flight across the bridge and burned it behind 
them. Reaching Cross Creek (now Fayetteville), 


his lordship expected to glide safely down the Cape 
Fear in boats; but found Islington's militia lining 
the river and ready to pick off his men from every 
covering on the banks. Sadly he resumed his 
mournful march and only found safety under his 
guns at Wilmington. 

Cornwallis had boasted, in the spring of 1780, that 
he was only waiting for the harvest to ripen in 
North Carolina, to subsist his troops, and he would 
then hasten to effect its subjection. The harvest 
had ripened, but his lordship had not garnered the 
sheaves; he came to the fields of Mecklenburg, but 
a voice from King's Mountain sent dismay and ter- 
ror to the hearts of his reapers and they forsook the 

Another spring had come with its sunshine and 
warmth, and the earth was waiting for the seed. 
The furrows were drawn but the sowers were free- 
men still; the summer came and patriots rested 
undismayed under the shade of their own vines 
and fig trees ; no royal standard floated over their 
heads and North Carolina, yet, was free. Georgia 
and South Carolina were trodden under foot, but the 
proud hearts of the "Old North State" were never 
humbled before the British throne. They declared 
for liberty and maintained it, unsubdued, to the end. 
The Battle of Guilford Court-House made it 
impossible that another British soldier should 
invade her soil, and thenceforth she had peace and 
rest and a free government for her people. 


No longer able to maintain the conflict in the- 
Carolinas, his lordship continued his flight to York- 
town, and before the frosts of October had tinged 
the leaves of the forest, he marched out of his 
breastworks an humbled and heart-broken captive, 
and with the surrender of his army came indepen- 
dence to the colonies. 

The fatal wound to royal authority, from which 
it lingered, and lingering died, on the ipth day of 
October, 1781, was given at Guilford Court-House 
on this 1 5th day of March, 1781. 

There are many interesting anecdotes and inci- 
dents of this bloody battle preserved by the various 
writers who have attempted to describe it, each 
illustrating some characteristics of the struggle or 
the men who were engaged in it. 

Cornwallis had two horses shot under him and 
made two narrow escapes from death or capture. 

Lamb, who was in Webster's brigade on the left, 
relates the following incident as occurring after 
Eaton's brigade had retreated and the British were 
about to assail the front of the Virginians under 
Lawson : 

"On the instant, however, I saw Lord Cornwallis 
riding across the clear ground. His lordship was 
mounted on a dragoon's horse, his own having been shot; 
the saddle-bags were tinder the creature's belly, which 
much retarded his progress, owing to the vast quantity 
of underwood that was spread over the ground; his lord- 
ship was evidently unconscious of his danger. I immedi- 
ately laid hold of the bridle of his horse and turned his 

head. I then mentioned to him that if his lordship had 
pursued the same direction he would, in a few moments, 
have been surrounded by the enemy, and perhaps cut to 
pieces or captured. I continued to run along the side of 
the horse, keeping the bridle in my hand, until his lord- 
ship gained the 23d" regiment, which was at that time 
drawn up in the skirt of the woods." P. ?6?. 

Tradition fixes the point where the second horse 
of his lordship was shot as -on the right of Law- 
son's brigade, probably a shot from Lynch's or Kirk- 
wood's men. 

"The next escape from danger by Lord Cornwailis, 
took place at the foot of the steep hill just beyond the 
fork of the Bruce road, near the ancient white oak which 
still marks the spot. 

"Cornwailis came down from his post at the fork of 
the Bruce road, to the ravine below, to see the condition 
of the battle, and under the cover of the smoke, rode up 
to that old white oak, just in the skirts of the fiery con- 
test. Washington, who had drawn off his troops, was 
hovering round to watch his opportunity for another 
onset, and approached that same oak unperceived by his 
lordship ; stopping to beckon on his men to move and 
intercept the officer, then unknown to him, he happened 
to strike his unlaced helmet from his head. While he 
dismounted to recover it, a round of grape from the 
British artillery so greviously wounded the officer next 
in command to Washington, that, incapacitating him to 
manage his horse, the animal wheeled around and carried 
him off the field, followed by the rest of the cavalry, who, 


unhappily, supposed that the movement, had been 
directed. Thus Cornwallis escaped." 

General Greene was not exempt from peril during- 
this sanguinary battle. Johnson relates his escape 
during the conflict with the Continental line, as 
follows : 

"Such also had been the apprehensions for the conse- 
quences ( of the defeat of the second battalion of the 
Guards, that the first battalion had been ordered up from 
the left and had reached the New Garden road, on which 
Greene was anxiously observing the progress of events. 
The bush on the roadside had so effectually concealed 
the advance of this corps from view that General Greene 
had approached within a few paces of them, when they 
were discovered by his aid, Major Morris, and pointed 
out to him. He had the presence of mind to retire in a 
walk ; a precipitate movement would, probably, have 
drawn upon him a volley of musketry." 

The death of Colonel Arthur Forbis was tragical 
and cruel. After he had fallen with two bullets, 
one in the neck, the other in his leg, and after 
he had endured all the horrors of that dreadful 
night of cold and rain, a Tory by the name 
of Shoemaker, a weaver from the neighborhood of 
Alamance, who was plundering, came near to Forbis, 
who begged him for water. Shoemaker, recog- 
nizing him, cursed him and thrust at him with a 
bayonet, which passed entirely through his leg. 
Another Tory, more Jiumane, brought water in his 
hat and administered to the famishing soldier. 


On the same day, Miss Montgomery, who was 
searching for her brother, discovered Colonel Forbis, 
and helping him on her horse, she held the bridle, and 
led the horse towards home. At a point near where 
Holt's Chapel now is, two miles east of Greensboro, 
they were met by the wife of Colonel Forbis, who 
was starting to look for him. She did not recog- 
nize the pallid face and sunken eyes of him who 
was so dear to her, when in a feeble voice he said, 
"Bettie, don't yon know me?" 

Colonel Forbis was carried to his home, and 
Doctor Caldwell, both a Doctor of medicine and of 
divinity, with his son, attended him. They insisted 
on amputating the leg, but the Colonel replied: 
"I want all my body to be buried together," and 
refused. He lived three weeks. His remains are 
buried in the cemetery at Alamance Church, five 
miles south of Greensboro. The citizens of Guilford 
County erected a handsome marble monument over 
his grave, and a granite monument has been erected 
by the "Guilford Battle-Ground Company," who 
own the battle-ground, on the battle-field, to his 
memory. He was not more than thirty-five years 
old when killed. "Shoemaker" was soon found 
at his home, one night, by the Whigs and hanged 
to a tree near an old church. The door of the old 
church was used as a litter to convey his body to 
his family. 

Cornwallis makes the following official report of 
his losses in this battle : 



"Royal Artillery One Lieutenant, one rank and file, 
killed ; four rank and file wounded. 

"Brigade of Guards One Lieutenant Colonel, eight 
Sergeants, twenty-eight rank and file, kilkd ; two Briga- 
dier Generals, six Captains, one Ensign, one staff officer, 
two Sergeants, two drummers, one hundred and forty- 
three rank and file, wounded ; twenty-two rank and file 

"2jd Foot :One Lieutenant, twelve rank and file, 
killed ; one Captain, one Sergeant, fifty-three rank and 
file, wounded. 

"33d Foot One Ensign, one Sergeant, nine rank and 
file, killed ; one Lieutenant Colonel, two Lieutenants, 
three Ensigns, one staff officer, one Sergeant, fifty-five 
rank and file, wounded. 

"fist Foot One Ensign, one Sergeant, eleven rank 
and file, killed ; four Sergeants, forty-six rank and file, 

"Regiment of Bose Three Sergeants, seven rank and 
file, killed ; two Captains, two Lieutenants, one Ensign, 
six Sergeants, three drummers, fifty-three rank and file, 
wounded ; one Sergeant, two rank and file, missing. 

" Yagers Four rank and file, killed ; three rank and 
file, wounded ; one rank and file, missing. 

"British Legion Three rank and file, killed ; one 
Lieutenant Colonel, one Sergeant, twelve rank and file, 

"Total One Lieutenant Colonel, two Lieutenants, 


two Ensigns, thirteen Sergeants, seventy-five rank and 
file, killed ; two Brigadier Generals, two Lieutenant 
Colonels, nine Captains, four Lieutenants, five Ensigns, 
two staff officers, fifteen Sergeants, five drummers, three 
hundred and sixty-nine rank and file, wounded ; one 
Sergeant, twenty-five rank and file, missing. 


" ist Royal Artillery Lieutenant O'Hara, killed. 

u Brigade of Guards Honorable Lieutenant Colonel 
Stuart, killed ; Brigadier Generals O'Hara and Howard 
and Captain Swanton, wounded ; Captains Schultz, May- 
nard and Goodricke, wounded, and since dead ; Captains 
Lord Douglass and Maitland, Ensign Stewart and Adju- 
tant Colquhoun, wounded. 

" 2jd Foot Second Lieutenant Robinson, killed; 
Captain Peter, wounded. 

"jjd Foot Ensign Talbot, killed ; Lieutenant Colonel 
Webster (since dead), Lieutenants Salvin, Wynyard, 
Ensigns Kelly, Gore and Hughes, and Adjutant Fox, 

"fist Foot Ensign Grant, killed. 

" Regiment Bosc Captains Wilmousky (since dead), 
Eichendrobt, Lieutenants Schwener and Graife, Ensign 
de Trott (since dead), wounded. 

u British Legion Lieutenant Col. Tarleton, wounded. 

"Deputy Adjutant General.' 1 ' 1 

Cornwallis also reports that he captured four 
brass cannons, six-pounders, mounted on traveling 
carriages, with limbers and boxes complete. 

Of the British officers wounded, the following 
died: Colonel Webster, Captains Schultz, Maynard 


and Goodricke. General O'Hara was so badly 
wounded that his recovery was long in doubt. 
General Leslie's health gave way under the expos- 
ure and fatigue, and he was obliged to retire a 
long time from service. General Howard, who was 
without a regular command, it seems, was only 
slightly wounded. Colonel Tarleton received a 
rifle-ball through his right hand (his unlucky 
member) in the morning encounter. 

Johnson says that "the American killed and 
wounded could never be ascertained with precision. 
That the returns of the day could furnish no cor- 
rect idea on the subject, for one-half the North 
Carolina militia, and a large number of the Vir- 
ginians, never halted after separating from their 
officers, but pushed on to their homes." 

This proportion of the North Carolina and Vir- 
ginia militia is too large. It is based on the reports 
made on the iyth, and many of these men came in 
afterwards. The North Carolina militia, being 
nearer home, could the more easily return. The 
Virginians left by whole companies, in the face of 
raging officers, and, Mr. Houston says, they hid 
in the mountains, so that for years they feared the 
approach of officers. 

The North Carolinians, whose term of service 
was only six weeks, and four of which had expired, 
supposed they would escape censure and punish- 
ment ; but they were mistaken in this. The law 
followed them and brought them back to service, 
where, as we will see in the sequel, they became 

brave and disciplined soldiers, who wiped out their 
disgrace in blood, and returned, after twelve months 
(such of them as did not sleep under the sod of 
South Carolina and Georgia), crowned with honors 
and welcomed with the plaudits of their fellow- 
citizens. They added training to courage and made 
the best of soldiers. 

It is probable that Greene's loss was about three 
hundred besides the militia. 

The American commander having collected his 
stragglers and rested his soldiers an hour or two, 
continued his march to the Iron Works, on Trouble- 
some Creek, where he was soon after joined by Lee. 

The next day the soldiers were all in the best of 
spirits and anxious to be led again against the 
enemy, some to acquire more glory, others to 
retrieve the reputation that they had lost. Greene, 
however, knew that his enemy was fatally wounded, 
and that his losses would compel a retreat instead 
of a pursuit, and spent his time in reorganizing his 
little army, preparing ammunition and getting 
ready to follow the British forces. 

While he is resting we may contemplate the 
splendid results of this fatal blow to British pres- 
tige and power in North Carolina, and its bearing 
on the subsequent military events which followed. 

Stedman wrote "that a victory achieved under 
such disadvantages of numbers and ground was of 
the most honorable kind, and placed the bravery 
and discipline of the troops beyond all praise ; but 

/- J 


the expense at which it was obtained rendered it of 
no utility" 

Tarleton says: "The position and strength of 
General Greene at the Iron Works, on Trouble- 
some Creek, did not invite the approach of the 
British army; Earl Cornwallis, therefore, com- 
menced his march on the iSth* for Deep River, on 
his way to Cross Creek." 

Fox, in the British Parliament, contended that 
the victory was Greene's. He argued that "if the 
British army had been vanquished, they could only 
have left the field and fled to the coast, precisely 
the measure Cornwallis was compelled to adopt," 
and exclaimed, "Another such victory would destroy 
the British army!" 

Senator Benton, in his eulogy on Nathaniel 
Macon, the great Commoner, who was a soldier 
under Greene up to February, 1781, takes occasion 
to discuss the historical results of this battle. It 
is so lucidly and eloquently told that I offer no 
apology for incorporating it in my narrative : 

"In the year 1778 the Southern States had become a 
battle-field, big with their own fate, and possibly in- 
volving the issue of the war. British fleets and armies 
appeared there, strongly supported by the British cause; 
and the conquest of the South was- fully counted upon. 
Help was needed in these States ; and Mr. Macon, quit- 
ting college, returned to his native county in North 
Carolina, joined a militia company as a private, and 
marched to South Carolina, then the theatre of the enemy's 

*He sent off his wounded on the lyth. 


operations. He had his share in all the hardships and 
disasters of that trying time ; was at the fall of Fort 
Moultrie, surrender of Charleston, defeat at Camden, 
and in the rapid winter retreat across the upper part of 
North Carolina. He was in the camp on the left bank 
of the Yadkin when" the sudden flooding of that river, in 
the brief interval between the crossing of the Americans 
and the coining up of the British, arrested the pursuit of 
Cornwallis, and enabled Greene to allow some rest to 
his wearied and exhausted men. In this camp, desti- 
tute of everything and with gloomy prospects ahead, a 
summons came to Mr. Macon from the Governor of 
North Carolina, requiring him to attend a meeting of 
the General Assembly, of which he had been elected a 
member, without his knowledge, by the people of his 
county. He refused to go, and the incident being 
talked of through the camp, came to the knowledge of 
the General. Greene was a man himself, and able to 
know a man. He felt at once that if this report was 
true, this young soldier was no common character, and 
determined to verify the fact. He sent for the young 
man, inquired of him, heard the truth, and then asked 
for the reason of this unexpected conduct this prefer- 
ence for a suffering camp over a comfortable seat in the 
General Assembly. Mr. Macon answered him, in his 
quaint and sententious way, that he had seen the faces 
of the British many times, but had never seen their 
backs, and meant to stay in the army till he did. 

"Greene instantly saw the material the young man was 
made of, and the handle by which he was to be worked. 
That material was patriotism ; that handle a sense of 
duty ; and laying hold of this handle, he quickly worked 
the young soldier into a different conclusion from the 

one that he had arrived at. He told him he could do 
more good as a member of the General Assembly than 
as a soldier ; that in the army he was but one man, and 
in the General Assembly he might obtain many, with 
the supplies they needed, by showing the destitution and 
suffering which he had seen in the camp ; and that it 
was his duty to go. This view of duty and usefulness 
was decisive. Mr. Macon obeyed the Governor's sum- 
mons ; and by his representations contributed to obtain 
the supplies which enabled Greene to turn back and face 
Cornwallis, fight him, cripple him, drive him further 
back than he had advanced (for Wilmington is south of 
Camden), disable him from remaining in the South (of 
which, up to the battle of Guilford, he believed himself 
to be master), and sending him to Yorktown, where he 
was captured, and the war ended. 

"The philosophy of history has not yet laid hold of 
the battle of Guilford, its consequences and effects. That 
battle made the capture at Yorktown. The events are 
told in every history ; their connection and dependence 
in none. It broke up the plan of Cornwallis in the 
South and changed the plan of Washington in the North. 
Cornwallis was to subdue the Southern States, and was 
doing it, until Greene turned upon him at Guilford. 
Washington was occupied with Sir Henry Clinton, then 
in IStew York, with 12,000 British troops. He had 
formed the heroic design to capture Clinton and his army 
(the French fleet co-operating) in that city, and thereby 
putting an end to the war. All his preparations were 
going on for that grand consummation when he got the 
news of the battle of Guilford, the retreat of Cornwallis 
to Wilmington, his inability to keep the field in the 
South, and his return northward through the lower part 


of Virginia. He saw his advantage an easier prey, 
and the same result if successful. Cornwallis or Clinton, 
either of them, captured, would put an end to the war. 
Washington changed his plan, deceived Clinton, moved 
rapidly upon the weaker general, captured him and his 
7,000 men, and ended the Revolutionary War. The 
battle of Guilford put that capture into Washington 1 s 
hands ; and thus Guilford and York town became con- 
nected ; and the philosophy of history shows their 
dependence, and that the lesser event was father to the 

"The State of North Carolina .gave General Greene 
25,000 acres of western land for that day's work, now 
worth a million of dollars ; but the day itself has not yet 
obtained its proper place in American history. " Bentoit's 
Thirty Years in the U. S. Senate^ p. 115. 

I shall reserve for the next chapter the further 
movements of General Greene and the vigorous 
measures adopted by North Carolina to prosecute 
the war. 

It is gratifying to close this chapter with the 
freedom of North Carolina from British invasion, 
which never again desecrated her soil. 


The Retreat of Cornwallis from Guilford Court-HousePursued by 
General Greene Disbandment of the Militia Colonel James 
Read's Command from North Carolina Remains with Greene 
The Militia who Fled from Guilford Court-House Reorganized 
as Part of the Cpntinental Line under Major Pinketham 
Eaton Battle of Hobkirk's Hill Fall of the British Out- 
postsSplendid Courage and Dash of the North Carolinians 
at Augusta, June 5th, 1781 Death of Major Eatou Greene 
Retires to the High Hills of Sautee, i6th July, 1781. 

"Speedwell Iron Works," on Trouble- 
some Creek, was the camp of General Greene, 
to which he retired, reaching there on the morning 
of Friday, the i6th of March, 1781. He remained 
here until the morning of Tuesday, the 2Oth of 

The disorder and derangement incident to such 
a fierce and sanguinary battle had to be repaired. 
The Americans carried their powder and lead and 
bullet moulds along with the army and manufac- 
tured their cartridges in the camp. Greene had 
lost his two ammunition wagons and the remnant 
of cartridges contained in them, and one of the first 
duties of his soldiers was to mould musket and rifle 
balls for the next battle. 

The second duty was to reorganize his Virginia 
and North Carolina militia, who had only been 
called out for a six weeks' "tour." Much of this 
short time had already expired, and he could not 
hope to retain them long. The North Carolina 

militia who had fled from the field after the battle 
and went to their homes, which lay in a day or two 
of march from the battle-field, were about four hun- 
dred and fifty or five hundred. Some few had 
reported after the main army reached the camp. 
About five hundred and fifty Virginians fled from 
the field who never returned, and after they reached 
the camp they left by regiments, while their com- 
manders were u raging" at their perfidy. Every 
one of Colonel McDowell's* regiment of Virginians 
left in this way, but the gallant Colonel adhered to 
Greene after his men were gone. 

Mr. Houston, in his Diary, gives a most amusing 
account of this stampede, or, to use the ingenious 
circumlocution of Colonel Lee, this " voluntary 
and customary return of the Virginians to their 
homes.' 11 

Generals Butler and Eaton were immediately 
sent after the recreant North Carolinians, and the 
remainder were, it seems, attached to Colonel Read's 
volunteer corps and marched with General Greene 
in pursuit of Cornwallis. March the 2ist, Greene 
writes to Colonel Lee, whom he had thrown forward 
to gain intelligence: 

"Your letter, dated at New Garden yesterday, has this 
moment been received. Our army marched .yesterday 
in the direct route for Magee's Ordinary, near the head- 
waters of Rocky River, which will be twelve miles from 
Bell's Mill. We expect to get two or three miles beyond 

*Close kinsman of the North Carolina McDowells. 


Passley to-night. We have got provisions to draw, 
cartridges to make, and several other matters to attend 
to, which will oblige us to halt a little earlier than com- 
mon. I beg you will try to forward me the best intelli- 
gence you can get of the enemy's situation this morning 
and whether they move or not. / wean to fight the 
enemy again, and wish yon to have your Legion and 
riflemen ready for action on the shortest notice. Lord 
Cornwallis must be soundly beaten before he will release 
his hold." 

This was the spirit of the American commander, 
and demonstrated that he was the real victor at 
Guilford and was read}' to renew the combat, while 
his antagonist was using every artifice to avoid the 
contest and, redeeming the time in rapid retreat, 
always keeping a stream between him and his pur- 

Cornwallis at first crossed to the southwestern 
bank of the Deep River, as if he intended to inarch 
for Salisbury, but suddenly recrossing that stream, 
he moved down its eastern bank, having the Haw 
River to his left and the Deep River to his right, 
and nearing their junction at Ramsey's Mill. 
Arriving here, he threw a temporary bridge across 
the Deep River, there being one already across the 
Haw, so that if the American army pressed him he 
could retreat by either outlet and burn the bridge 
behind him. Here at Ramsey's Mill he paused to 
reorganize his forces and repair his damage as much 
as possible and to gather what provisions he could 
for his further retreat. He had left the wounded 
American prisoners at Guilford Court-House, and 


those of his own wounded who could not be trans- 
ported, about eighty, at New Garden Meeting-House. 

The British army had neither courage nor spirit 
left. Their condition was mournful .indeed, and 
all their energies were directed to the one idea of 
reaching a port of safety. 

On the 3oth day of March the terms of service of 
the Virginia and North Carolina militia expired 
and they insisted on their discharge. General 
Greene was much distressed over this loss, but see- 
ing it inevitable, under the call of enlistment, 
submitted as gracefully as possible, and returning 
his thanks to those who had adhered to him, they 
were allowed to return to their homes. Colonel 
Read, of North Carolina,who commanded a volunteer 
force of two hundred men, spoken of in a former page, 
was the only North Carolina organization which 
voluntarily remained with the American comman- 
der and continued to share with him in the subse- 
quent successful campaign in South Carolina. 

It seems very difficult to trace the history of this 
command. I find the following letter from Colonel 
James Read to General Sumner, dated February 
2yth, 1781, from "Miller's tavern": 

"Since I had the pleasure of seeing you at Halifax, 
the Assembly honored me with the command of a regi- 
ment of horse. As I had your approbation to accept a 
command in the militia, I did not think it necessary to 
trouble you about this command particularly." 

This is the only communication I can find in 
regard to it, either by Colonel Read or any one else. 


On the 29th March, General Greene writes 
General Washington: 

u ln this critical and distressing situation I am deter- 
mined to carry the war directly into South Carolina. 
The enemy will be obliged to follow us or give up his 
posts in that State. If the former takes place, it will 
draw the war out of this State and give it an opportunity 
to raise its proportion of men. If they leave their posts 
to fall, they must lose more than they can gain here. If 
we continue in this State the enemy will hold their 
possessions in both." 

Colonel Hampton, of South Carolina, had visited 
Greene at the Iron Works, and made him acquainted 
with the condition of affairs in South Carolina, and 
urged him to return to that State. 

Before entering upon another campaign, how- 
ever, General Greene deemed it proper to give a 
short repose to his wearied troops and to gather 
supplies for tjiat part of his journey which lay 
through a comparatively barren country between 
the Yadkin and Camden, and consequently the 
American commander did not renew his march 
until the 6th of April,* the day before Cornwallis 
reached Wilmington. 

Neither . was General Greene unmindful of the 
vicissitudes of war and the necessity of providing a 
line of retreat and stores for his army, should he 
be forced to seek shelter again in North Carolina. 
It was this provident characteristic that enabled 

*Lee's Memoirs, p. 325. 


him to make his former wonderful retreat before the 
British army. To Colonel Win. R. Davie, his Com- 
missary General, was intrusted the important service 
of collecting magazines on the banks of the Catawba, 
and measures were adopted for establishing a con- 
siderable depot at Oliphant's Mill.* 

As all the artillery was lost, Captain Singleton 
was dispatched to Prince Edward Court-Honse, 
Virginia, to obtain whatever pieces could be pro- 
cured from that quarter. 

Perhaps it will be appropriate here, before tracing 
the progress of Greene, to record something of the 
North Carolina militia who " deserted their colors " 
and "returned" to their homes; for these same 
men will make a conspicuous figure in the history 
which is to follow. 

During the administration of Governor Nash, 
the Legislature of North Carolina passed an act to 
punish those of her citizens who refused to perform 
the military duty required of them. It provided 

*On Tarleton's Military Map, Oliphant's Mill is located in Iredell 
County, North Carolina, where Buffalo Creek runs into the Catawba 
River, on the present Western North Carolina Railroad ; but the 
Hon. Win. M. Robbins, who has made some research, for the author, 
as to its location, can hear of no tradition of a mill of any kind at 
this point. But on the opposite side of the Catawba River, in Ca- 
tawba County, on Ball's Creek, there was, many years ago, Iron 
Works, which continued to a recent period of time, and I am much 
inclined to the opinion that Oliphant's Mill was located at this Iron 
Works, which would be an appropriate place for the repair of arms 
and the storage of provisions. 


"Those persons who have been lawfully drafted and 
have neglected or refused to march and go into actual 
service on due notice, or find a substitute, as is therein 
directed, shall be held and deemed a Continental soldier 
for twelve montJis; and that those persons who have 
deserted their colors, when in actual service, shall be 
held and deemed a Continental soldier during the war." 

William Hooper writes Mr. Iredell on the 29th 
day of March, 1781, from Halifax, North Carolina, 

"'The Council Extraordinary' have passed an order 
to take from every inhabitant a fifth part of his provision 
for the use of the army; and tliat every man who aban- 
doned Iris post in tJie last action, sJionld be enrolled in the 
Continental army for twelve months" 

On the 6th day of April, 1781, Thomas Gilchrist 
writes to Air. Iredell from Halifax, North Carolina, 

" Part of the scattered militia from G nil ford Court- 
House were rendezvousing here at the time your letter 
came to hand by one of them (a captain). These militia 
are now marched under the command of Colonel Linton 
and are sentenced to twelve months' duty, as Continentals, 
for their desertion." 

On the 1 3th of April, Major Pinketham Eaton 
writes General Sunnier from Chatham Court- 

*Johnson, vol. 2, p. i.Si. 


" I this day received of Lieutenant Colonel William 
Linton, one hundred and seventy (170) men turned over 
into the Continental service, but am without a single 
officer to assist me. I shall, by General Greene's orders, 
march them immediately to headquarters.'' 

On the nth of April, General Butler writes 
General Sunnier from Ramsey's Mill : 

44 We have now in the field 240 men of those who 
fled from the field on the I5th ulto. They are for one 
year, and will in a few days join headquarters. My 
orders were to inform you from time to time of their 
nymbers, in order that you might send on as many offi- 
cers as are necessary to command them. Major P. Eaton, 
Captain James Read, Captain Yarborough and Lieutenant 
John Campbell, are in service and mean to continue, with 
your leave."* 

In less than one month after the battle these men 
had been collected for duty. They were neither 
cowards, as we shall see, nor did they avoid arrest 
or flee from the State ; they were undisciplined men, 
who returned to their homes instead of their camp. 
They were ashamed of their conduct and willing to 
redeem their reputations. We shall soon find them 
organized as Continental soldiers under the gallant 
and ill-fated Eaton. 

The Continental Congress had passed an act, 
after the compression of the regiments, in May, 
17/8, requiring North Carolina to raise four (4) 

"These are the titles ami rank held in the Continental line. 

more regiments or battalions for the Continental 
service, for twelve months. Brigadier General 
Sumiier, of Warren County, was given the com- 
mand of this new brigade, and the Continental offi- 
cers who had lost their positions by the "compres- 
sion," and those who might be exchanged from 
prison, were to be assigned to duty in these 
regiments. General Sunnier entered upon this 
important duty with systematic energy and patri- 
otic spirit. These regiments were to be raised by 
volunteering, or, if this failed, by draft. 

A rendezvous, for these levies, was appointed in 
the several districts of Wilmington, Newbern, 
Halifax, Hillsboro and Salisbury, and the militia 
officers were ordered to assemble their commands 
and. return their respective quotas and have them 
in readiness by the 25th April, 1781. 

The voluminous correspondence of General 
Sumner with Colonel Nicholas Long, the Commis- 
sary General of the State, Major Eaton, -Colonel 
Hal. Dixon, General Butler and numerous subordi- 
nate officers, discloses the insuperable difficulties 
which prevented the consummation of this plan at 
that time; want of arms and clothing being the 
greatest, while other parts of the State were disloyal 
and refused to respond. In the meantime, General 
Sumner, anxious to render service to his country, 
had offered to command a brigade of militia under 
Greene, but for some unfortunate and inexplicable 
reason the offer was declined. 

One of the four regiments was to have been 


cavalry, but no effort, it seems, was made to raise it. 
The total inability of the State to equip cavalry was 
probably the reason for abandoning it. 

In a letter of General Sumner's, without date, 
he alludes to the fact that General Greene had 
instructed him to make " an arrangement for the 
Continental line," and " that he had met the officers 
of the State, who could convene at Halifax the 23d 
January, 1781, but the difficulty of making the forma- 
tion, at this time, was that the dates of the officers' 
commissions who were in captivity could not be 
procured. However, they had formed a temporary 
arrangement of the officers present to receive the 
four regiments ordered to be raised by the State. 
Since the arrival* of the officers who were in cap- 
tivity we have been as expeditious as desirous in 
making a re-arrangement of the line of officers. 
Colonel James Armstrong, Colonel Gideon Lamb, 
Lieutenant Colonel James Thackston, Lieutenant 
Colonel William Lee Davidson, Captain Micajah 
Lewis and Captain Francis Childs resigned, to be 
recommended by the board of officers, at Halifax, 
to Congress, to permit them to retire on half pay. 
Lieutenant Colonel Wm. Lee Davidson, Colonel 
Gideon Lamb and Captain Micajah Lewis are since 

February 24th, 1781, General Sumner writes 
General Greene that he 

*In June, 1781. 


u Had sent expresses to Colonel Ashe* and Major 
Murfreet, who were, by the temporary arrangement of 
the officers of the North Carolina line, present in the 
State, to take charge of two of the regiments, to ac- 
quaint them without delay that it was your wish that 
they join the militia camp to render such assistance as 
may be in their power. Major Dixont and Major Arm- 
strongH are to take charge of the other two regiments. 
Major Dixon is in your camp, who is Inspector General 
of militia, and promised me to join that camp upon a 
general rendezvous. Major Armstrong is with the forces 
from the district of Salisbury. A large number of the 
officers of the State are, to my knowledge, already in 
the militia camp." 

I quote this letter entire, so far as it refers to the 
organization of the regular troops, to show the 
changes that afterwards occurred ; for when the 
three regiments moved, in July, they were com- 
manded respectively by Colonel John B. Ashe and 
Majors John Armstrong and Reading Blount, as 
General Stunner's correspondence shows. How 
it was that Murfree did not reach the rendezvous 
from Newbern, or did not take the command as- 
signed him, I am not able to solve. 

While General Sumner was still exerting all his 
power to collect the new levies and provide them 
with arms, Major Pinketham Eaton, who was at 
or near the camp of General Butler, on Deep River, 
was ordered to march and join the- army under 
General Greene, with the, now, re-assembled militia 

*John B. Ashe. fHardy Murfree. 

J"Hal" Dixon. ||John Armstrong. 


from Guilford Court-House, and we will have 
to trace their history as a part of that magnificent 
little army which was, so soon, to redeem South 
Carolina and Georgia from the British power. 

1781. On the lyth day of April, Major Dixon, 
as Inspector General, was ordered to forward two 
subaltern officers to Major Eaton, u who was 
informed that more of the militia were on their 
way to his command." 

Baton was detained until about the 23d of April 
before he began his march to South Carolina, and 
did not reach General Greene until about the i6th 
of May, when his command was attached to Lee's 
Legion as one of the corps which was to act against 

On the 6th day of April, General Greene detached 
Colonel Lee, with orders to seek General Marion 
and make a junction with his forces. He was 
directed, however, to follow in the track of Corn- 
wallis as far as Cross Creek, in order to produce 
the impression that the American army would fol- 
low in that direction to Wilmington. 

From Cross Creek, Lee moved east rapidly, then 
south, crossing Drowning Creek, then by Marion 
Court-House to Pope's Ferry, on the Great Pee 
Dee, where, on the i4th day of April, he formed a 
junction with General Marion. Marion furnished 
the boats, which he had concealed, to cross the 
stream, and with their joint force they made a hur- 
ried march almost west to Fort Watson, on the 

*Johnson's Life of Greene, vol. 2, p. 126. 


Santee, below Camden and below the confluence of 
the Wateree and Santee. 

On the yth day of April, General Greene crossed 
the Deep River with his army and moved west in a 
direct line to Mark's Ferry on the Yadkin; then 
south, crossing Rocky River and Lynch's Creek, to 
Camden, which vicinity he reached on the iQthday 
of April. 

Lord Rawdon, who was in command of that post 
with 900 men, had been informed by the numerous 
Tories in that State of General Greene's approach, 
and, much to Greene's surprise, had six days' notice 
of his coming and had called in detachments from 
the Saluda and Broad until his force was fully 
equal to Greene's army. In addition, he had 
strengthened his fortifications so that it was impossi- 
ble to take them by storm. Nothing was left but 
to set down and endeavor to entice the British com- 
mander into battle. With this view, on the 2oth, 
Greene advanced to a hill on the Waxhaw road, in 
half mile of Rawdon's breastworks, but the challenge 
was not accepted. He then moved his army one 
and a quarter miles and took post on a rising 
ground of moderate elevation, known by the name 
of "Hobkirk's Hill," with his left covered by an. 
impassable branch and his right approaching a 
thicket almost impenetrable. 

General Greene had lost his four six-pounder 
cannons at Guilford Court-House, all he had, but 
" order had been taken for procuring from Oliphant's 
Mill, at the head-waters of the Catawba, two pieces 


that had been forwarded to that place for repair.' 7 
One of these he sent to Marion, who had advanced 
towards Carnden, on the fall of Fort Watson (which 
was the 23d), in order to intercept the approach of 
Colonel Watson's force, which was marching to rein- 
force Rawdon. Gfeene, unfortunately, was too con- 
fident of the power of General Marion and Colonel 
Lee to prevent that officer from getting into Camden, 
if Marion could have a piece of artillery to counter- 
act the artillery of Watson. I state this with some 
precision, because Greene has been much criticised 
for parting with this artillery, which he needed so 
badly at Hobkirk's Hill. General Greene also 
knew that Colonel Harrison was on his way from 
Prince Edward Court-House with two other pieces 
of artillery; these reached him on the 23d. The 
piece of artillery intended for Marion was sent to 
Rugeley's Mill, under escort of the North Carolina 
militia of Read's command. These troops General 
Greene designed to send as a reinforcement to 
General Marion, and Colonel Carringtoii, in order 
to get them together at a safe spot, retired eight 
miles further off than Rugeley's Mill, at a place 
called Upton's Mill, and this made it difficult for 
Greene to communicate with him. The conse- 
quences of this mistake, on the part of Carrington, 
who was in command of this detached corps, ex- 
hibited themselves in the hurry in camp, on the 
morning of the battle, which occurred on the 25th. 
I take from Johnson, page 77, the following esti- 
mate and classification of Greene's force. He says : 


"The whole regular infantry of the American army, 
at the battle of Hobkirk's Hill, was 843 present and fit 
for duty. The cavalry consisted of two regiments, 
White's and Washington's, but actually it numbered 
only 87, and 56 only of these were mounted. The 
artillery also nominally constituted a regiment, and was 
commanded by Colonel Harrison in person ; but actually 
there were not men enough to fight three pieces ; after 
detaching Finley, not above 40. The only militia force 
then with the army consisted of 254 North Carolinians. 
One hundred and fifty of these, under Colonel Read, had 
joined Greene soon after he recrossed the Dan, and had 
faithfully adhered to him from that time. They were 
volunteers, men of the first respectability, and much 
might have been expected of them in action. The rest 
had escorted the supplies sent to the army by Colonel 

Perhaps the most intelligible account of this 
battle is given by Colonel Lee. He was not a. par- 
ticipant, and could, therefore, be impartial to all. 
I give his account in the following words: 

" The position of Greene was upon a ridge covered 
with uninterrupted wood, the Waxhaws road running 
directly through it ; his army resting with its left upon 
the swamp of Pine Tree Creek, where the ridge or emi- 
nence was easiest of ascent, and extending to the right 
to woods imcovered by water-courses or any other ob- 
structions. In this quarter the American position was 
easiest assailed, but the probability of an undiscovered 
approach was not so encouraging. Therefore, Lord 
Rawdon preferred the route to our left, inasmuch as an 

(403 ) 

unexpected assault upon our camp was a leading feature 
in his plan. 

u In the morning Carrington joined, with a comforta- 
ble supply of provisions, which had been rather scarce 
during the late hurried changes of position. These were 
issued, and, of course, engaged a portion of the troops, 
while the residue were employed along the rivulets in 
washing their clothes, an occupation which had been 
for some days past impracticable. 

"Absorbed in these employments, the period was very 
propitious to the enemy's object. His advance was never 
discovered until his van fell upon our pickets. The two 
in front commanded by Captain Benson, of Maryland, 
and Captain Morgan, of Virginia, received him hand- 
somely ; and, retiring in order, disputed bravely every 
inch of ground, supported by Kirkwood with the remains 
of the Delaware regiment. This rencounter gave the 
first announcement of the contest at hand. Disposed for 
battle by the order of encampment, the American army, 
notwithstanding its short notice, was quickly ranged for 
action an event, although unexpected, of all others the 
most desirable ; because, in all probability, the readiest 
for the production of that issue so anxiously coveted by 
the American General. 

"During the contest with the pickets, Greene formed 
his army. The Virginia brigade, with General Huger at 
its head, having under him the Lieutenant Colonels 
Campbell and Hawes, took the right ; the Maryland 
brigade, led by Colonel Williams, seconded by Colonel 
Gunby, and the Lieutenant Colonels Ford and Howard, 
occupied the left. Thus all the Continentals, consisting 
of four regiments, much reduced in strength, were dis- 
posed in one line, with the artillery, conducted by Colonel 


Harrison, in the centre. The reserve consisted of the 
cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel Washington, with a 
corps of North Carolina militia, about two hundred and 
fifty, commanded by Colonel Read. 

"The British General, pushing before him the pickets 
and Kirk wood, pressed forward to battle. The king's 
American regiment on the right, the New York volun- 
teers in the centre, and the sixty-third on the left, formed 
the line of battle. His right wing was supported by 
Robertson's corps, and his left by the volunteers of 
Ireland. The reserve consisted of the South Carolina 
regiment, with a few dragoons, all the cavalry then at 
Camden. Greene, examining attentively the British 
disposition, discovered the very narrow front which it 
presented, and gratified as he was with the opportunity, 
so unexpectedly offered, of completing, by one blow, his 
first object, he determined to avail himself of the advant- 
age given by the mode of attack. 

"He directed Lieutenant Colonels 'Campbell and Ford 
to turn the enemy's flank ; he ordered the centre regi- 
ments to advance with fixed bayonets upon him ascend- 
ing the height ; and detached Lieutenant Colonel Wash- 
ington with his cavalry to gain his rear. Rawdon no 
sooner cast his eyes on our disposition than he perceived 
the danger to which his unequal front exposed him, and 
bringing up the volunteers of Ireland into line, he 
remedied the defect, seized by Greene, in time to avert 
the expected consequence. 

"The battle opened from right to left with a vigor which 
promised a keen and sanguinary contest ; but the supe- 
riority of our fire, augmented by that from our well- 
served artillery, must have borne down all opposition, 
had the American line maintained itself with becoming 

firmness. On the right Huger evidently gained ground; 
Washington was carrying everything before him in the 
rear, and Lieutenant Colonel Hawes, with fixed bayonets, 
conformable to order, was descending the hill ready to 
fall upon the New York volunteers. 

"In this flattering movement, the veteran regiment of 
Gunby, having first joined in the fire, in violation of 
orders, paused ; its right falling back. Gunby unfortu- 
nately directed the disordered battalion to rally by retiring 
to its right company. Retrograde being the consequence 
of this order, the British line, giving a shout, pressed for- 
ward with redoubled ardor ; and the regiment of Gunby, 
considered as the bulwark of the army, never recovered 
from the panic with which it was at this moment unac- 
countably seized. The Virginia brigade, and the second 
regiment of Maryland, with the artillery, notwithstand- 
ing the shameful abandonment by the first Maryland, 
maintained the contest bravely. Williams and Gunby, 
assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Howard, who had so often 
and so gloriously borne down with this very regiment all 
opposition, vainly exerted themselves to bring it to order. 
Not the menaces of the one, nor the expostulations of the 
other, and the exhortations of the third, not the recollec- 
tion of its pristine fame, could arouse its cowering spirit. 
The second Maryland, which had from the commence- 
ment of the action acted with gallantry, feeling severely 
the effect produced by the recession of the first, became 
somewhat deranged ; and Lieutenant Colonel Ford being 
unluckily wounded while endeavoring to repress the 
beginning disorder, this corps also fell back. 

" Rawdon's right now gained the summit of the emi- 
nence, flanking Hawes' regiment, which had undeviat- 
ingly held its prescribed course, although early in the 

( 4 o6) 

action abandoned on its left by the first Maryland, and 
now but feebly sustained on the right by the first Vir- 
ginia for this corps had now begun to recede, notwith- 
standing its preceding success. Greene recalled Hawes, 
our only unbroken regiment, and finding every effort to 
reinstate the battle illusory, wisely determined to dimin- 
ish the ills of the sad and unaccountable reverse by 
retiring from the field. Orders were given to this effect, 
and Lieutenant Colonel Hawes was commanded to cover 
the broken line. 

u The retreat was performed without loss, although 
the enemy continued to pursue for a few miles. Wash- 
ington, with his cavalry, retiring from the rear the mo- 
ment he discovered that our infantry had been forced, 
came in time to contribute greatly to the safety of the 
army, having necessarily relinquished most of the fruits 
of his success. Checking the enemy's efforts to disturb 
our rear, he at length, by a rapid charge, effectually 
discomfited the British van and put a stop to further 

"General Greene, having passed Saunder's Creek, 
about four miles from the field of battle, encamped for the 
night, and on the next day proceeded to Rugeley's Mill. 
The loss sustained by the respective armies was nearly 
equal. On the side of America, two hundred and sixty- 
eight were killed, wounded and missing ; on the side of 
the enemy, two hundred and fifty-eight, including the 
prisoners brought off by Lieutenant Colonel Washington 
and those paroled by him on the ground. The British 
lost no officer of distinction, which was not the case 
with us. The wound of Lieutenant Colonel Ford proved 
mortal; and Captain Beatty, of the first Maryland, was 
killed, than whom the army did not possess an officer of 
more promise.'* 


Gordon says " the militia was coming into action, 
when suddenly a number of the Americans began 
to retire, though the danger was not apparently 
great, and everybody seemed ignorant of the cause."* 

In the Life and Times of Iredellf it is said: 
"North Carolina soldiers followed Greene's flag to 
the close of the contest; and I believe that a care- 
ful examination will disclose the fact that their 
number has been carelessly stated and greatly 
underrated by our historians. Colonel Readis regi- 
ment of North Carolinians, under the command of 
Colonel Washington, greatly distinguished them- 
selves at the battle of Hobkirk's Hill." 

The most brilliant conduct in this unfortunate 
battle was that of Captain John Smith and his light 
infantry company. This was a company of 45 
select Irishmen, detailed from the Maryland line, 
not one of whom was over thirty years old. They 
were intended for critical service in the absence of 
the Legion of Lee. 

When Greene had withdrawn his line and formed 
it again in rear of his first position, it left the artil- 
lery, three pieces, exposed to imminent danger. 
Captain Smith, with his company of Irishmen, was 
ordered to defend and secure it at all hazards. The 
British were ascending the hill with loud shouts, 
and Coffin, in command of their cavalry, was charg- 
ing up the road to join in the pursuit. "The 
matrosses were now quitting the drag-ropes, when 
General Greene galloped up alone, his aids being 

*Gordon, vol. 4, p. 83. fVol. i, p. 504. 


in other portions of the field, and dismounting and 
seizing the drag-ropes with one hand, whilst he 
held his horse with the other, exhibited an example 
which the most timid could not resist. Smith's 
men arrived, and gathering the drag-ropes in one 
hand and holding their muskets in the other, they 
were dragging off the cannons when Coffin rushed 
up with his cavalry. Smith immediately forming 
his company in rear of the artillery, poured such a 
deadly fire into Coffin's face that he retired in con- 
fusion. Again Coffin rallied his men and with 
determined courage rushed upon the devoted band, 
but only to be sent back with shame and defeat. 
Three times it was renewed with the same result, 
but in the intervals they continued to remove the 
guns farther from danger. At length the British 
infantry advanced and their marksmen in the wood 
soon began to sacrifice this heroic company ; Smith 
himself was wounded and his 45 men had been 
reduced to 14. At this instant Coffin charged upon 
them again and all were either killed or captured. 
Captain Smith fell into the hands of the enemy. 
The artillery was for a moment lost, but at this 
crisis Colonel Washington returned from his circuit 
in the rear, and in a moment was upon the enemy 
with his cavalry. They fled before his impetuous 
onset, and the artillery was redeemed." 

Greene had led a Virginia regiment to the charge, 
twice that day, in person, and exposed himself with 
reckless courage to the fire of the enemy. He 
seems to have become desperate over the failure of 


his favorite regiment, the ist Maryland, which had 
become panic-stricken in the very moment of vic- 
tory. Even these men, victors of Cowpens and 
saviors of Gnilford Court-House, fled before the 
charge of the British regulars; a most amazing 
fact, but one that teaches us the duty of charity to 
the conduct of others, who, under more trying cir- 
cumstances, might imitate the example. 

A court-martial was convened for the investiga- 
tion of Gunby-'s conduct, and its finding was that 
" Gimby's spirit and activity were unexceptionable ; 
but his order for the regiment to retire was improper 
and unmilitary, and in all probability the only cause 
why we did not obtain a complete victory." 

In August, Greene wrote "that he found him 
more blamable than he had represented him in his 
public letters." Poor fellow! brave, but imprudent 
and unwise, he lingered awhile with the army, and 
being mortified by assignment to duty in the rear, 
he retired from the service, leaving the regiment 
under Howard, who was the favorite son of fortune. 

It is due to Colonel Gunby to say, that Colonel 
Lee, an accomplished and scientific soldier, defends 
him and says that "Howard performed the same 
movement at Cowpens that Gunby attempted to 
repeat at Hobkirk's Hill " which is true. 

Bancroft censures Greene for " weakening him- 
self irretrievably" by sending Washington to the 
enemy's rear and having no protection from the 
dangers of disaster, and characterizes this maneuver 

as " inconsiderate confidence ;" but Bancroft is not 
an admirer of General Greene. 

Stedman's comment on the result was, that " the 
victory at Hobkirk's Hill, like that at Guilford 
Court-House, although most honorable and glorious 
to the officers who commanded, and the troops that 
were engaged, produced no consequences beneficial 
to the British interest." 

My admiration for the enthusiastic courage and 
distinguished patriotism of Captain John Smith, 
" the hero of Hobkirk," constrains me to incorporate 
the following account of him, which I find in John- 
son's Traditions of the Revolution, by Joseph 
Johnson, M. D., of Charleston, South Carolina: 


"The first Maryland regiment, commanded by Col- 
onel Gnnby, was very highly considered by General 
Greene ; ever ready to encounter danger at the word of 
command, and ever ready to lead in battle, under the 
most discouraging circumstances. 

"It had conquered at the battle of Cowpens, and 
acquired the highest distinction at the battle of Guilford; 
yet, at the battle of Hobkirk, near Camden, they had 
been thrown into confusion and retreated disgracefully. 
Captain John Smith, commanding a light infantry com- 
pany in that regiment, was not with them at that time. 
He was particularly distinguished at the battle of Guil- 
ford, as well as that of Hobkirk. 

" At the head of his company he charged the enemy's 
line at Guilford, encountered Colonel Stuart, of the 
Guards, in the open field, and slew him. He also slew, 

as the British asserted, on that occasion, two or three of 
Stuart's men. He had been detached from the Mary- 
land line by General Greene, at Hobkirk, for the protec- 
tion of the artillery, and not only avoided their disgrace 
on that occasion, but acquired additional honors. 

"His company then consisted of forty-five men, they 
were all Irishmen, and ail under thirty years of age. 
They continued to defend the retreating artillery, and 
finally preserved it till Washington came up with his 
cavalry at the critical moment when Smith's men, having 
been reduced to fifteen, the enemy overpowered them', 
and all were either killed or taken prisoners. Smith was 
wounded and captured among the survivors. On being 
carried into Camden, Lord Rawdon ordered him into 
close confinement, under a misrepresentation of his con- 
duct at Guilford, where he was said to have killed two 
or three men after they had surrendered. The charge 
having been disproved by the united testimony of Greene, 
Washington and Howard, he was sent down to Charles- 
ton on parole and on foot. 

"Some persons connected with the British army, in 
disguise, calling themselves Whigs, seized him a few 
miles below Camden, stripped him, tied him up and 
whipped him with switches on his bare back. 

"On his arrival in Charleston, his character for 
bravery being known, he became intimate with a num- 
ber of British officers of kindred spirits, equally hon- 
orable and equally brave. 

"Dining one day with some of them, an officer was 
introduced, whom he immediately recognized as one of 
those who had treated him so ignominiously. Smith 
took occasion to say that their whole deportment to him 
had been so honorable, that it was a pity that any dis- 


honorable fellow should intrude among them. The 
officers called upon him to explain, as they suffered no 
such intrusion into their society. 

"He accordingly pointed out the man, and declared 
the treatment received from him and his associates, while 
a prisoner on parole. 

"'Then kick him, Smith,' was the general reply; 
and Smith had the gratification of kicking the rascal out 
of the company. 

" Many years after these events I knew Captain Smith 
well; he was styled 'the hero of Hobkirk,' and com- 
missioned by President John Adams in the armament 
against France." 

But great as the mortification and disappointment 
of General Greene was, at his defeat, it did not alter 
his plan to drive the enemy from Camden. On the 
day after the battle he wrote General Marion , " We 
are now within five miles of Camden, and shall 
closely invest it in a day or two again." To the 
French minister he wrote, "We fight, get beat, rise 
and fight again." 

There is one feature of Greene's usual consolatory 
letters that is "conspicuously absent" from his 
correspondence in regard to Hobkirk Hill. He 
had no militia to scold; no scape-goat of citizen 

He tried the militia in front at Guilford Court- 
House and on them he put the blame. He thought 
to reverse it at Hobkirk Hill, but the result was 
worse, and subsequently at Eutaw he returned to 
the plan of Cowpens and Guilford. There was a 

Higher Power whose wisdom and providence was 
ordaining all these things for good, and though 
mysterious in His ways, the liberty of a mighty 
Christian people was "worked out" through all 
these tribulations and delays. 

It is not my purpose to record all the subordinate 
military movements and actions of General Greene's 
army in South Carolina, but only such as will 
disclose the part taken by North Carolina in this 
eventful campaign. I shall, therefore, only give a 
rapid review of those minor affairs, that the reader 
may not lose the thread of the history. 

On the 26th the news of the fall of Fort Watson 
reached the army of Greene at Gum Swamp. " It 
was joyfully announced in orders next day and the 
names of Marion and Lee were given out as the 
countersigns in honor of the captors of that fortifi- 

Greene, with all his greatness, was capricious 
and irritable. His ill humor led him into incon- 
sistencies, which it had been well that his biographers 
had not made public. In five days after this bril- 
liant achievement of the modest and devoted Marion, 
General Greene writes to President Reed: 

"Generals Sinnter and Marion have a few people who 
adhere to them, perhaps more from a desire and the 
opportunity of plundering than from any inclination to 
support the independence of the United States." 

If there was one trait in Marion's character con- 
spicuous above all others, it was his pure and simple 

devotion to principle and his abhorrence of the 
41 plunderer " in warfare. No opportunity for plun- 
der was ever afforded by him. A more unfounded and 
grosser wrong was neyer done to an unselfish patriot 
and his followers than this. It was, I regret to 
observe, a custom of General Greene, to reflect on 
Southern soldiers, when writing private letters to 
his Northern friends. Pity it is that the unguarded 
expressions of his great mind, when irritated by 
disappointment, should have been paraded as his- 
tory. No doubt that General Greene himself 
regretted these expressions in after life. I allude 
to them "more in sorrow than .in anger," but this 
peculiar characteristic is necessary to be understood 
in order to weigh correctly similar expressions of 
his in regard to North Carolina troops. 

Colonel Watson, whose junction with Rawdon 
General Marion and Colonel Lee had in vain en- 
deavored to prevent, entered Camden on the yth of 
May. With this substantial reinforcement, which 
gave him a superiority over Greene, he marched 
out to give him battle, but the American comman- 
der skillfully avoided action. 

The British commander, having lost Fort Wat- 
son on the Santee, and finding his communication 
with Charleston entirely cut off, determined to 
abandon Camden. 

" On the loth May, after destroying all public 
buildings and stores, and many private houses, the 
British abandoned Camden never to hold it again." 

On the nth the post at Orangeburg, held by 


sixty British militia and twelve regulars, surren- 
dered to Sumter. Rawdon marched down the 
Santee on the north side, anxious to save the gar- 
rison at Fort Motte, to which Marion had laid siege. 
To hasten its surrender, Rebecca Motte, the owner 
of the house in which they were quartered, on the 
1 2th, brought into camp a bow and a bundle of 
Indian arrows, and when the arrows had carried 
fire to her own abode, the garrison of 165 men sur- 
rendered. Two days later the British evacuated 
their post at Nelson's Ferry. On the i5th, Fort 
Granby, with 352 men, capitulated. General Marion 
turned his army against Georgetown, and on the 
first night after the Americans had broken ground, 
the British retreated to Charleston. The troops 
under Rawdon did not halt until they reached 
Monk's Corner. "* 

Thus, in less than one month after General 
Greene appeared before Camden, he had compelled 
the British General to evacuate that important post, 
forced the submission of all the intermediate posts, 
and was now upon the banks of the Congaree, in 
the heart of South Carolina, ready to advance upon 
Ninety-Six (the only remaining fortress in that 
State, except Charleston, in the enemy's posses- 
sion), and to detach a force against Augusta, in 
Georgia; comprehending in this decisive effort the 
completion of the deliverance of the two lost States, 
except the two fortified towns of Charleston an4 
Savannah safe because the enemy ruled at sea.f 

^Bancroft, vol. 5, p. 500. fLee's Memoirs, p. 352. 

( 4 i 6 ) 

General Pickens, with such force as he had col- 
lected in the upper districts, had been ordered to 
concentrate his force before Augusta, then defended 
by Colonel Brown, an American loyalist. 

General Greene now attached Major Pinketham 
Baton, of North Carolina, with his 200 men, militia 
from Guilford Court-House, to Lee's Legion, and 
commanded Lee to join Pickens at Augusta. 

On the 2ist Lee captured Fort Galphin, below 
Augusta, by a stratagem. Appearing before it 
with a very small force,, the garrison sallied out in 
pursuit, when Captain Rudolph, who was concealed, 
rushed into the fort. Those outside surrendered. 
This gave the Americans "powder, ball, small 
arms, liquor, salt, blankets," and other valuable 
and much needed articles. 

The defences at Augusta were Fort Cornwallis, 
in the centre of the town, and Fort Grierson, a half 
mile up the Savannah River. The regulars were 
with Brown in Fort Cornwallis, and the loyalist 
militia in Fort Grierson. 

It was determined by General Pickens to attack 
Fort Grierson first, and carry it by storm. Colonel 
Lee gives the following graphic account of the 
affair, w r hich took place June the 5th, 1781 : 

"Brigadier General Pickens, with the militia, was to 
attack the fort on the north and west ; Major Eaton, 
with his battalion of North Carolinians, by passing down 
the north side of the lagoon, was to approach it on the 
south, co-operating with the militia ; while Liutenant 


Colonel Lee,' with his infantry and artillery, was to move 
down the lagoon on its southern margin, parallel with 
Eaton, ready to support his attack if required, or to 
attend to the movements of Brown, should he venture 
to leave his defences and interpose with a view to save 
Grierson. The cavalry, under Eggleston, were ordered 
to draw near to Fort Cornwallis, keeping in the wood 
and ready to fall upon the rear of Brown, should he 
advance upon Lee. These arrangements being finished, 
the several commandants proceeded to their respective 
points. Lee's movement, open to view, was soon discerned 
by Brown, who was drawing his garrison out of his 
lines, accompanied by two field pieces, and advancing 
with the appearance of risking battle to save Grierson, 
now assailed by Pickens and Eaton. This forward 
movement soon ceased. Brown, not deeming it prudent, 
under existing circumstances, to persevere in its attempt, 
confined his interposition to a cannonade, which was 
returned by Lee, with very little effect on either side. 
Grierson's resistance was quickly overpowered ; the fort 
was evacuated ; himself, with a Major and many of his 
garrison, killed ; the Lieutenant Colonel, with others, 
taken ; and the few remaining, by reaching the river, 
escaped under cover and concealment of its banks to Fort 
Cornwallis. Lieutenant Colonel Brown, perceiving the 
fall of this post, withdrew into his fort, and apprehend- 
ing, from what he had seen, that he had to deal with 
troops fitted for war, applied himself to strengthening 
his situations. 

"Whatever was attainable in the town, and necessary 
to his defence, was now procured, and every part of the 
works requiring amendment was repaired with industry. 
These exertions on the part of the enemy could not be 


counteracted ; all now to be done was to assume proper 
stations for close investure, and by regular approaches, 
to compel his surrender. 

"In the late contest our loss was trivial a few 
wounded, and fewer killed. But, unhapp ly, among the 
latter was Major Eaton, of North Carolina, who had 
served only a few weeks with the light corps, and in 
that short period had endeared himself to his commandant 
and fellow-soldiers by the amiability of his manners. He 
fell gallantly, at the head of his battalion, in the moment 
of victory. ' ' 

Major Pinketham Eaton was the intimate friend 
of General Stunner, and in o'ne of his late letters 
had said, "I shall not be happy until I am in your 
command again." 

He began his military career as a Captain in 
General Simmer's regiment, the third ; his commis- 
sion as Captain was dated the i6th of April, 1776, 
and on the 22d November, 1777, he was promoted 
to be Major. He had been General Simmer's most 
active assistant in raising the new levies, and was 
the first officer of the Continental line assigned to 
active service in the campaign of 1781. His early 
promotion and the admiration which General 
Sunmer had for him, is sufficient evidence of his 
skill and courage as a soldier, and Lee testifies to 
his great amiability of temper, which had endeared 
him to his late comrades. 

Colonel John Armstrong, in a letter to General 
Sumner, dated June i3th, 1781, says: 


"I have the disagreeable news to inform you of the 
death of Major Eaton. He was wounded at Augusta, 
taken prisoner and surrendered up his sword, and was 
afterwards put to death with his own sword. This I 

have by a letter from Captain Yarborough." 


Captain Yarborough, as we have seen, was one 
of the Continental officers of Eaton's command, 
while at Deep River, and continued with him to 

Colonel Grierson, for whom the fort was named, 
was captured in the further progress of the assault, 
and a similar death was awarded to him by his 
captors, no doubt, in retaliation for the abominable 
murder of Eaton ; though Grierson's cup of iniquity 
had long been full. 

The splendid courage and dash of the command 
of Eaton, composed, as it was, entirely of the militia 
who had fled to their homes from Guilford Court- 
House, cannot be too lavishly extolled. Native 
courage was common to them all, but they needed 
discipline, drill and experience to make them soldiers. 

It gives me the greatest pleasure to trace the 
history and march of these patriotic men direct 
from Guilford Court-House to this bloody baptism 
of fire at Augusta, and this pleasure will be height- 
ened by the continued observance of their subsequent 
and glorious achievement at Eutaw Springs. 

Pickens now pressed the siege against Fort Corn- 
wallis with all diligence and activity. It was 
approached by earth-works on the south side until 


the parallels drew near to the fort. Colonel Brown, 
who defended the fort, was fertile in resources, 
brave to a fault, and an obstinate and determined 
foe. Nothing that genius, labor and desperation 
could accomplish, was left undone to strengthen 
his position, and for two nights in succession he 
made reckless sallies on the besiegers, but was 
driven back by the discipline and valor of the 
Legion infantry. 

General Pickens, gathering from Lee the idea 
of erecting what was known as the Maham Tower, 
at once put a force to collecting logs, which were 
notched firmly together as a pen, and the enclosure 
was filled with rock and earth. To conceal this 
work it was located behind a house, and was not 
discovered, even by the vigilance of Colonel Brown, 
until late in the second day, when the tower had 
nearly reached its desired height. Brown, judg- 
ing that this queer military tumuJus, which over- 
looked and commanded the inside of his fort, must 
be destroyed or his fate would be sealed, mounted 
two of his best pieces of artillery on platforms, at 
the angle of the fort, nearest the town, and opened 
upon it a furious and incessant cannonade ; but the 
American six-pounder, from its lofty height, soon 
silenced the artillery of the fort and made sad havoc 
with the works, for protection, inside the fort, and 
uncovered its magazine. 

The situation was almost hopeless for the Tory 
commander, but his undaunted courage still prompt- 
ed him to resistance. Another desperate assault 

was made on the night of the 29th of May. It met 
a bloody repulse by the militia and Rudolph's 
company of the Legion. Pickens now pressed 
forward his approaches with renewed zeal and reso- 
lution. On the 4th of June Pickens and Lee were 
read}- to make the final assault, and the troops 
were in the highest spirits. The Georgia militia 
anticipated a bloody revenge on the commander, 
who had hanged thirteen of their number with 
remorseless cruelty. The regular troops, who had 
been laboring all day and fighting all night, were 
impatient for the final struggle, and all seemed to 
be concentrating on a day of carnage and retalia- 
tion ; for no authority nor officer would be respected 
when the men were once in the heat of blood and 
the presence of death. All human pity would be 
smothered in the struggle for the mastery, and men, 
losing their superiority over the inferior animals, 
would, like them, only remember their wrongs and 
the opportunity to revenge them with blood. 

The American commander having witnessed the 
fury of the assailants of Fort Grierson, and being 
willing to avoid such another scene of slaughter at 
Fort Cornwallis, sent a final demand to Colonel 
Brown for surrender. Negotiations followed, 
which resulted in a capitulation of the fort and 
garrison on the 5th June, 1781. 

The officers and soldiers who surrendered were 
to be conducted to such places as the commander- 
in-chief of the American army should direct, and 
the officers to be indulged in their paroles. 


At the appointed time the garrison marched out. 
Colonel Brown was placed in the care of Captain 
Armstrong, of the Legion, with a safe-guard to 
protect him from the violence of the enraged Geor- 
gians, whose disappointment only whetted their 
appetite for his blood. 

Colonel Lee kept Brown at his headquarters 
until next day, when he was sent down the river 
to Savannah as a paroled prisoner, under care of 
Captain Armstrong. 

Georgia was now redeemed, and the unrestrained 
rejoicing of the Whigs evinced the spirit with 
which they received the gladsome news. The 
English power was confined to Savannah, and the 
Indian allies of the British fled to their wigwams 
in the pathless forests of the frontier. The loyal- 
ists sought refuge within the British lines, or hid 
themselves in the swamps from the avengers of 
blood. The names of Pickens and Lee and Clarke 
were idolized, and paens of praise, to them, were 
sung at every fireside. 

On the 6th June, Lee recrossed the Savannah 
River and hastened to join Greene, on the 8th, who 
was then laying siege to Ninety-Six. General 
Pickens, after securing the baggage and stores, 
followed on the same day, the 8th. 

Lord Rawdon, who was at Charleston, heard 
with consternation of the fall of Augusta, and was 
impatiently awaiting reinforcements to enable him 
to march to the rescue of Ninety-Six. These rein- 
forcements landed on the 3d of June, and on the 


yth his lordship set out for the relief of Ninety-Six 
with three Irish regiments, just arrived, and was 
joined by some other troops from Monk's Corner, 
giving him a total of 2000 men. 

General Sumter advised General Greene, on the 
i ith, of Rawdon's approach. Sumter, Pickens and 
Marion were sent immediately to Rawdon's front to 
impede his progress and give all the time possible 
to Greene to press the siege. Colonel Cruger, who 
was a faithful and skillful officer, declined with 
contempt all conditions of surrender and exerted 
every nerve to defend his fort to the last extremity. 

About the i5th, one attired as a farmer rode into 
the American camp, representing himself as a friend, 
and, as was usual, moved among the troops, when, 
at last coming near the front line, he spurred his 
horse to a fearful speed and dashed through the 
fire of sentinels and pickets, until, unharmed, he 
entered the open space between the contending 
lines, where he took from its concealment a letter, 
and holding it aloft to the view of the besieged, he 
rushed for the gate of the fort, where he was given 
a vociferous welcome. But a few minutes more 
elapsed until the ground almost trembled under 
the shouts of triumph inside the fort. Rawdon 
had communicated to them the joyful news that he 
was at Orangeburg, on his way for their rescue, and 
would soon relieve them from danger. 

On the 1 8th General Greene made an assault 
upon the fort, but it was repulsed with great lo'ss 
to the American troops. He has been severely 

censured by historians for this useless sacrifice of 
human life. The American loss was 185 killed 
and wounded, the enemy's loss only 85 men. 

On the 1 9th of June, General Greene, being 
advised of the rapid advance of Rawdon with an 
army superior to his own in numbers, withdrew 
from Ninety-Six and retreated in the direction of 
Charlotte, North Carolina, crossing the Enoree, 
Tiger and Broad rivers. 

On the morning of the 2ist the British army 
reached Ninety-Six. A few hours were spent in 
rejoicing, but in the evening of the same day, not- 
withstanding the fatigue of his soldiers, the intrepid 
Englishman sounded the signal for an advance, 
hoping to overtake the American army and destroy 
it. On the Enoree he encountered Colonels Wash- 
ington and Lee, who were covering the retreat. He 
soon learned that General Greene was beyond his 
reach, and finding that the American cavalry were 
superior to his own and likely to greatly harass his 
weary army, he beat a hasty retreat to Ninety-Six. 
Here, after reflecting on the situation and seeing 
the unsupported condition of this outpost, so long 
held by his troops, but now* in imminent danger, 
he determined to evacuate the place and fall back 
to his line on the coast. 

The light troops of Lee harassed his retreat, to 
some extent, but he soon reached Orangeburg, 
where, on the 8th of July, he made a junction with 
Lieutenant Colonel Stewart. No further attempt 
upon him was made by the American Generals. 


The heated season was now oppressive, and sick- 
ness began to show itself alarmingly among the 
American troops. General Greene, therefore, deter- 
mined to withdraw his troops from the field and 
rest his little army 011 the high hills of the Santee, 
south of Camden, which was a healthful region 
and a strategic position from which he could com- 
mand the State. 

We shall leave him here, the i6th of July, and 
return to North Carolina to trace the history of the 
three new battalions of the Continental line, com- 
manded respectively by Colonels John B. Ashe, 
John Armstrong and Reading Blount, which formed 
the splendid brigade of General Jethro Sumner. 


General Jethro Sumner Raises a Brigade of Continental Troops in 
1781 His Correspondence in Regard Thereto Marches, in 
July, 1781, to Join General Greene Colonel John B. Ashe, 
Major John Armstrong and Major Reading Blount, his Lieu- 
tenants Brigade Numbers 800 Men North Carolina Militia 
Join Greene General Sumter, of South Carolina, Recruits his 
Brigade in Rowan and Mecklenburg Counties. 

FT is somewhat discouraging to discover the many 
*- errors that have crept into history in regard to 
the general events in North Carolina during these 
stirring times; and it is surprising to find how 
little of history has been recorded in regard to 
.General Sumner and his Continental brigade. 

Governor Graham, though generally accurate, 
in his lecture on General Greene, fixes General 
Sumner as one of the captives at Charleston in 
May, 1780; and Moore, the historian, says he was 
at Gates' defeat at Camden, in August, 1780. Both 
these statements are incorrect. General Sumner 
was at that period in North Carolina endeavoring 
to recruit the levies for the ntew Continental regi- 
ments. Various letters to and from him in his 
voluminous correspondence show this. 

General Sumner was called to command the 
North Carolina militia, at Charlotte, in August, 
1780, when they were left without a leader, after 
Gates and Caswell had fled to Hillsboro; but 
he left that camp when, through somebody's influ- 


ence, the Legislature had him superseded by Gen- 
eral Smallwood, of Maryland, an officer much 
inferior in talent and military genius to Sumiier, 
and withal not a citizen of the State. After retiring 
from this militia command, General Sumner re- 
newed his exertions, against all obstacles, to hasten 
the drafts and collect volunteers for his brigade. 
He was constantly in correspondence with General 
Greene, LaFayette, Steuben, and Washington him- 
self, in 1780 and 1781, showing the esteem these 
great* men had for his worth as a soldier. He also 
constantly wrote letters to the commanders of the 
military districts, urging them to complete the 
drafts, and visited various sections of the State in 
prosecution of his noble work. He was applying 
in all directions for arms, and even as late as July 
the .ist, after his battalions were ready to move, 
they were delayed for want of muskets. At one 
time, so hopeless was the prospect for arms in 
North Carolina, that General Sumner was ordered 
to join the Baron Steuben in Virginia, as the only 
hope of arming his men. The history of these 
events are obscurely traceable through this volu- 
minous correspondence, and as far as the limits of 
this book will allow, I will endeavor to note the 
progress and trials which marked the completion 
of the three North Carolina Continental regiments. 
The first order was, that the drafts should be at 
the places of rendezvous by the 25th of April, 1781, 
and General Greene was urging the fulfillment of 
this order with constant importunity, but at that 


date nothing scarcely had been accomplished. The 
militia officers were u lazy," some disloyal, others 
feared unpopularity, those drafted deserted, some 
had no clothing, all were without arms, and a 
thousand excuses and misfortunes brought disap- 
pointment and failure to the hopes of General 
Sumner. To Colonel John Armstrong, who was 
at Salisbury April 3oth, General Sumner writes: 

"I wrote you a few days ago respecting the drafts of 
the district of Salisbury remaining in Salisbury until 
further orders. Since then I have received several ex- 
presses from General Greene. You are to march the 
drafts of Salisbury to Harrisburg, in Granville County, 
by companies and officered." 

On May ist, he writes General Greene that the 
"small-pox was raging at Hillsboro, and that there 
could be no collection of stores there; that General 
Jones, who had gone to Virginia to procure arms, 
had returned without success." 

May 6th he writes General Greene: 

"I have not been able, sir, to arm, of the drafts, more 
than sixty." 

On the 22d May, Major Dixon writes General 
Sumner from Hillsboro : 

"We are scarce of arms, and what we have are bad. 
I expect trie troops from Caswell County Thursday. 
They are pretty well clothed." 


On the 22d of May, Colonel John Armstrong 
writes Sunnier from Salisbury: 

"Since my last, I have received about 30 men of the 
drafts of this district. I expect 50 more, and by the last 
of this month I think I will have 200 in all, if they come 
according to promise. I have received 50,000 cartridges 
for the use of your brigade, which I intended to bring 
with me to your headquarters, but I understand by 
Captain James Read (recently sent to Salisbury on special 
mission by General Greene) 'that it is General Greene's 
express orders for the Salisbury drafts to join him soon. ' 
If I inarch southward I will leave 20,000 cartridges with 
Captain Gamble, Quartermaster, in Salisbury, to be 
delivered to your order." 

May 26th, Armstrong writes again : 

"Our army to the southward is in great spirits and 
increasing very fast. General Greene's heavy baggage 
and artillery that lay high upon the Catawba is ordered to 
camp. / shall start for camp to-day, and will take every 
opportunity to write you. I am so unhappy not to be 
under your immediate command." 

But Colonel Armstrong did not start on the 26th 
of May. 

June the i3th, he was still at Salisbury, and 
writes General Sumner: 

"I am almost ready to march, with 200 good men of 
this district. I sent on 180 before" 


Who went on with these 180 men is not recorded. 
I presume they left on the a6th May. 

In examining the applications for pensions under 
the act of 1832, I find that of John Wilfong, of 
Lincoln, now Catawba County, who was the great- 
grandfather of the late Major General Stephen D. 
Ramseur, of the Confederate army. Wilfong was 
one of the volunteers at King's Mountain, and was 
wounded in the arm. He states that 

"In July, 1781, I volunteered for ten (10) months 
with Captain Cowan and Lieutenant George Hammond, 
who marched from Lincoln County, to near Augusta, 
then joining the army of General Greene, thence to 
Eutaw Springs, and was in that battle." 

I think it probable that most of the levies in the 
Salisbury district w T ere volunteers; the Whigs 
abounded in that portion of the State more than 
any other. 

June i Qth, General Sumner seems to have written 
an appeal to the people to raise the new levies. A 
copy, in his handwriting, is among his papers. It 
is evident that the General fought better than he 
wrote. His orthography is hardly tolerable, and 
the chirography is worse a heavy, large hand- 
writing, irregular and not well constructed ; but the 
matter is vigorous and strong. He recounts the 
"savage waste and destruction of the enemy in 
making their way, the indefensible father, the aged 
mother, the loving sister appealing with groans and 


wringing hands to their friends to preserve their 
innocence and virtue from pollution." 

On the 2oth of June, General Sunnier writes to 
General Greene: 

"CAMP HARRISBURG,* June aoth, 1781. 

"DEAR SIR : I enclose a return of the drafts collected 
at this place. Colonel Armstrong I expect in two or 
three days with the troops of the district of Newbern. 
On his arrival I shall immediately form the second regi- 
ment. I have, sometime since, wrote Major Eatonf for 
a return of those men under his command with you, and 
to have them arranged as the first regiment, together 
with those of the district of Salisbury ; and I have 
directed him to report to me the number and companies, 
and the part wanting to complete the regiment, to be 
made here. Captain Doherty, who attends at Wilming- 
ton district .rendezvous, has orders to repair to general 
rendezvous with what drafts have been received from 
that district, and a general order has been issued to the 
several districts that a diligent officer remain at each 
district rendezvous to receive drafts from such counties as 
have not yet delivered its drafts to the Continental officer. 

"I shall, as soon as possible, march to join the Baron 
Steuben in Virginia, having no prospect of being sup- 
plied with arms, &c., in this State. 

"I received yours of the 2Oth instant, and shall pay 
our respects to the contents. 

"The Marquis, by last accounts, was in twenty miles 
of Lord Cornwallis, who was in the vicinity of Peters- 
burg ; that a very respectable force of riflemen had 

*Harrisburg was in Granville County. It was a camp and depot of 

tHe had not, it seems, yet heard of Eaton's death. 


joined the Marquis last Wednesday. I shall, in a few 
days, be able to give you a more particular account of 
their maneuvers. Major Craig, at Wilmington, con- 
tinues his ravages for thirty or forty miles up Cape Fear, 
with little or no opposition. His Excellency, the Gov- 
ernor, a few days since, sent me orders to march all the 
drafts collected to Duplin ; but, sir, it was so incom- 
patible with my orders that I did not do so, and, at that 
time, I was not joined by Major Dixon with the Hills- 
boro drafts, neither were those of Edenton come up. I 
have heard nothing of this matter since. 

"Permit me to congratulate you on the very conse- 
quential success the army immediately under your com- 
mand have had in South Carolina and Georgia. 

"I am, sir, with regard and esteem, 

"Your very obedient servant, 


Fortunately Virginia was able to furnish the 
muskets so essentially necessary, and by this gen- 
erosity Sunlner's brigade was enabled to join Greene 
instead of Steuben. Some of the trials incident to 
raising recruits is graphically set out in the follow- 
ing letter: 

" DUPLIN, June 22, 1781. 

"SiR : I embrace the opportunity of Colonel Kenan's 
going to the Assembly to inform you that the tumults 
in this part of the country have been the cause of the 
drafts, and everything in relation thereto, being delayed 
and more out of order here than in any other part of the 

"We have at present some little respite from the 
cursed Tories, but cannot say they are entirely subdued. 


The draft was made in Duplin, but more than half of 
them have been among the Tories, or so disaffected they 
will not appear. The number that we ought to have 
here is about seventy men, and there has not above 
twenty-four yet appeared, and about twenty from Ons- 
low. The men have been so harassed by being kept in 
arms, that hitherto they could not attend to providing 
the clothing required by law, and without clothing the 
men cannot march, as not one among them have a 
second change, and some have hardly duds to cover 
them. The Colonel has used all possible means to urge 
the people to clothe their soldiers, and when this is done 
I will march with the few we have. 

"If an opportunity offers from your camp towards 
Wake, I should be glad to hear from you. If it is di- 
rected to the care of Colonel Kenan, he will forward 
it to 

u Your humble servant, 


Captain Doherty was one of the officers of the 
Continental line and had been in General Sumner's 
old regiment. 

June 2Qth General Stunner informs Baron Stenbeii 
that General Greene had j list ordered the North Caro- 
lina brigade to join him in South Carolina, as the 
enemy had been largely reinforced. He urges the 
Baron, notwithstanding this, to forward arms to him. 

Major Reading Blount was in Salisbury on the 
29th of June, attending to the organization of the 
third battalion, and writes to General Sumner: 


"I am sorry to inform you that there is no account of 
those parties yet that were expected when you left here. 
In case any should come in a short time, it would be out 
of my power to have them equipped, unless you send me 
an order from General Greene for that purpose, as he 
has given Gamble orders not to issue cartridges or stores 
of any kind to any order but his own. But should troops 
come on before I get such an order, I shall run all risks 
of taking them, if not to be had other ways." 

Colonel John Armstrong had, at last, gone forward, 
with orders to incorporate Major Eaton's com- 
mand with those men who accompanied him from 
Salisbury, and on the ist day of July had reached 
"Camp Big Springs, 20 miles from Broad River," 
"halfway between Nation Ford on the Catawba, 
and Fish Dam Ford on Broad," and gives General 
Stunner the following information: 

"We are now in camp half way between the Nation 
Ford on the Catawba, and Fish Dam Ford on Broad 
River, in a fine situation; plenty of good water. It hath 
one failing it will not make grogg. The General seems 
very uneasy about the delay of the drafts of Salisbury 
district and the desertions that frequently happen by 
reason of the forced number of Tories into the service, 
and as soon as they receive the bounty they desert. I 
have received nigh 300 men and will not have above two 
hundred in the field. I did everything in my power to 
bring out the drafts of this district, but all to no purpose; 
there is one-half at home yet, and remain without 
molestation ; as for clothing, there was little or none 


sent, fit for a negro to wear, except from Rowan. I am 
sorry that I ever had anything to do with such slothful 
officers and neglected soldiers ; there is a number of 
them now almost naked, and when cold weather sets in 
the}- must be discharged, for no officer would pretend to 
put them on duty. The neglects that we have labored 
under heretofore, together with the present, makes the 
service very disagreeable to every officer in camp ; 
we are without money, clothing, or any kind of nourish- 
ment for our sick, not one gill of rum, sugar or 
coffee, no tents or camp kettles or canteens, no doctor, no 
medicine. Under these circumstances we must become 
very indurable. 

14 1 wish it had been my lot to have gone with you to 
Virginia, where we would have been under your imme- 
diate care, and shared the fate of the other drafts and 
other officers of the State. I am fully satisfied that you 
were not acquainted with our circumstances here, or 
otherwise it would have been removed. I have received 
yours of the i2th inst. , directing me to order the Lewis' 
to the field again; one is dead, the other is a member of 
the Assembly, and Joel resigned and denies serving any 
longer; I am afraid that in a short time you will have 
but few officers in the field, by reason of the shameful 
neglect of the State. We seem rather a burden than a 
benefit to them; we are tossed to and fro like a ship in a 
storm. We cannot learn what has become of Major Eaton's 
men; Saunders has a few to the southward of this. 

"McCree, Lytle and Brevard were sent back with the 
prisoners, to Salisbury; I have about ninety (of Eaton's 
men) in camp. I will do my best to gather them all to 
camp, if possible, and make you a full return." 


Since the gallant Major's death, on the 5th of 
June, at Augusta, his command seems to have been 
broken into several detachments, and Colonel Arm- 
strong had not been able to gather up more than 
" ninety " of them. The others were to the " south- 

Colonel Armstrong disappears now from our 
correspondence until after the battle of Eutaw 
Springs. In July, 1782, he apologizes for delay 
and excuses himself on the ground that he "had 
the misfortune to be wounded in a duel with Major 
Lewis, and that his wounds were not yet well." It 
may be it grew out of the order alluded to in the 
above letter. 

General Sumner was at Frohawk's Mill, in 
Mecklenburg County, on the i6th July, lamenting 
the delay of Major Murfree and Captain Doherty ; 
but his heart, no doubt, leaped for joy when he 
received the gladsome intelligence, contained in a 
letter from "J. Pryor, Charlottesville, Virginia, n 
dated July iQth, saying: 

"Some days since I was ordered by the Honorable 
Major General Marquis de Lafayette to send on 300 
stands of arms to you by the most safe and convenient 
route. The movements of a detachment of the enemy 
on the south side of James River proved a great obstacle, 
but since hearing they had passed toward the southward, 
I have ventured them on under the care of Mr. Edward 
Moore, whose precaution and diligence, I am in hopes, 
will convey them safe, and in time, to your camp. 


(< Two hundred and fifty-three of the arms are very 
fine and complete, sent from Philadelphia, intended for 
Virginia new levies, of which I must beg the greatest 
care be taken. Forty-seven are not so complete." 

It was these fine muskets that did the fine work 
at Eutaw Springs. 

Colonel John B. Ashe was ready, on the i4th 
day of July, to march for Greene's camp, and 
received from General Sumner the following order, 
to be executed on his arrival : 

u You are to take charge of all the Continental troops 
from this State in camp now, under the command of 
Major John Armstrong, and incorporate them as of the 
first regiment of the four Continental regiments of Con- 
tinental troops of this State." 

On the same day, i4th of July, Sumner writes 
Governor Burke a letter, dated from Salisbury: 

"My expectation of being supplied with arms is now 
otherwise, 300 wanting repairs. We shall, however, be 
able to march, three hundred (300) rank and file, 
equipped, except bayonets, this evening (i4th July) or 
very early to-morrow morning. I shall leave Major 
Hogg and Major Blount at this place, who are to follow 
as soon as a number of these muskets can be put in 
repair. I have left Captain Chapman at Harrisburg 
Station, who is also to act as a detail officer there until 
further orders. Major Murfree, of Edenton district, and 

Captain Doherty, have not yet joined me, but might be 
far advanced on their march." 

General Sumner had reached Hanging Rock, 
South Carolina, by July 3Oth, as he informs Gov- 
ernor Burke. 

I copy the following from Major Blount : 

"SALISBURY, August ist, 1781. 

"SiR : I have the pleasure to inform you that Captain 
Goodman arrived at this post on the 28th (July) with 
about 1 20 men, on the same day the arms arrived from 
Virginia, which I shall take on to you unless ordered to 
the contrary. I shall be able to leave this place in about 
five days, and not sooner. Many of the soldiers are 
barefooted and can't march without shoes. I have pro- 
cured an order from the clothes General for as many 
shoes as will do them by sending to Davidson's for them. 

"You should have been furnished with a general 
return of what men there are at this post, but Captain 
Goodman has not time to make one since he arrived. 
If you have any order relative to the arms or the troops, 
I should be happy to receive them as soon as possible. 
' ' I am sir, yours, 


"To General Sumner." 

General Sumner had now taken the field in 
person, his Lieutenants, Ashe and Armstrong, were 
with him, and Blount was ready to follow from 
Salisbury in five days. 


From the foregoing correspondence we learn that, 
June i3th, 1781, Colonel John Armstrong had 

sent forward to Greene's camp, - 180 

He followed very soon with 200 

General Simmer left Salisbury, July I4th, with 300 
August the ist, 1781, Major Blount had ready 

to march, - -120 

Total, - 800 

The Guilford Court-House militia, with Greene 

were - - 90 

" To the southward " there was another detach- 
ment of this milititia, about - no 

Aggregate, - - 1000 

men, whom North Carolina sent forward from the 
6th of April to the ist of August, 1781, as regulars. 
Perhaps 200 deserted or were unfit for active service, 
leaving at least 800 effective men with Greene, in 
August, 1781, under the command of General 

We have no further correspondence showing the 
route taken by these troops. Fighting and march- 
ing were resumed, and the pen, never fertile in 
Sumner's hand, seems to have been put away. 
They no doubt reached General Greene's camp at 
the High Hills of the Santee in a fortnight, and 
while in this salubrious location and enjoying 
immunity from battle, they received training, drill- 
ing, and exercise necessary to "mechanize" the 
soldier. Then they met with the men of Eaton's 


battalion and heard them recount their exploits at 
Augusta, and repeat the sad tale of their leader's 
death, and how his comrades of all arms grieved 
over his untimely fate. These new levies learned 
from the old veterans, who had followed Greene so 
long, that the British were not invincible, even with 
the bayonet in their hands, and were encouraged 
to imitate the day of Cowpens. They saw what 
splendid soldiers experience and discipline had 
made out of the militia of Guilford Court-House, and 
how nobly those men had wiped out their reproach 
in the charge on Fort Grierson, and they were eager 
to share in that glory on the next field of battle. 
Sumner, thoughtful of all their necessities and 
comforts, rigid in discipline, sharing in their toil 
and privations and giving them an example of 
endurance and courage, infused into them his own 
heroic spirit. Ashe, Armstrong and Blount, all 
veteran soldiers, who had passed through the dangers 
of many battles, with reputations for exalted courage, 
were models for their imitation, and that esprit dc 
corps, so necessary to confidence, and combined attack 
or defence, was generated among officers and men 
around the camp-fires of the "Hills," and on the 
parade grounds of the regiments. Mutual acquaint- 
ance, friendship and State pride grew up among 
them and united them as one man, in one cause, 
with one glorious end in view the independence 
of the American colonies. 

In addition to this brigade of North Carolina 
regulars, there were five hundred North Carolina 


militia who joined General Greene* at this camp, 
but it was not possible to arm but two hundred of 
them. North Carolina had sent more troops to the 
field than the General Government and the States 
combined could arm. 

These, however, were not all the North Caroli- 
nians in this camp. General Sumter had been 
authorized by Governor Rutlege to raise a brigade of 
regulars and most of these men had been recruited 
in North Carolina. I state this upon the authority 
of Joseph Graham, and it is fully sustained by 
cotemporary evidence. In the University Maga- 
zine, June, 1856, the narrative of General Graham 
is published as follows: 

"Shortly after the battle of Guilford (March 
1781), Governor Rutlege, of South Carolina, who had 
been invested with full power by the Legislature of that 
State, authorized General Su inter to raise a brigade of 
State troops for the term of ten months, each man to 
find his own clothing, horse, arms and equipments, but 
to be found in forage and rations by the public, and 
receive a grown negro for his pay. Colonel William 
Polk, Wade Hampton, William Hill and Middleton, 
commanded. The greater part of the regiments of 
Polk, Hampton and Hill were raised in the, then, coun- 
ties of Mecklenburg and Rowan, between the Yadkin 
and Catawba. The act of Assembly of North Caro- 
lina, 1781, exempted those counties from levies, for 
the Continental line, which had furnished men for 
General Sumter. Many of them might be considered 

*Johnson, vol. 2, p. 208. 


as seasoned to a camp life, and from the services they 
had seen, accustomed to endure hardships and privations 
and encounter dangers. How well they acted their'part 
in the summer of 1781, until after the battle of Eutaw, 
is recorded in the history of the war within the State of 
South Carolina. They sustained considerable loss of 
both officers and men in that action, in the autumn ; 
but suffered much more from the climate in that low 
country. Many of them never returned.'' 

In another communication from General Graham^ 
published in the University Magazine of October, 
1855, he says: 

"It may remembered that the brigade of 
State troops raised by the State of South Carolina, in 
the spring of 1781, where each man furnished his own 
horse and military equipments, the regiments commanded 
by Colonels Polk, Hampton and Middleton, were mostly 
raised in the counties aforesaid. 

"It is admitted that some, of both officers and soldiers, 
of the militia of South Carolina, were as brave and 
enterprising as ever went to a field of battle, but those 
well affected to the cause of independence were but few 
in number. 

"The most of the lower districts (except Marion's 
brigade) were endeavoring to save their property, either 
by moving to North Carolina or Virginia, or the greater 
number by taking protection from the enemy. 

"From the conduct of the few, before alluded to 
(who were not disaffected), Ramsay's History gives char- 
acter to the whole militia of the State, when it is well 
known a great majority of them saw little military 


service. The counties r>f Mecklenburg and Rowan not 
only furnished the greater part of the troops commanded 
by General Sumter, but it was in all cases his place of 
retirement when menaced by a superior force of the 
enemy, and from whence he mostly organized and set out 
on his several expeditions. 

"The writer, finding those things unfairly represented, 
has undertaken in his plain way to present a more cor- 
rect account of several transactions than has heretofore 
been given, and to take notice of some which have been 
entirely omitted, which, in his opinion, are worthy of 
being preserved. 

"For the truth of the facts he states^ he appeals to 
those who were present on the several occasions related, 
of whom, it is believed, more than a hundred are living. 

"Some of the details may appear minute and trivial, 
but not so to those who were present, and it is expected 
the present generation will read with some interest the 
part their fathers and relatives acted in those times, more 
especially when they have a personal knowledge of the 
very spot where each transaction took place." 


Battle of Eutaw Springs, Fought the 8th day of September, 1781 
The Noble Part borne by North Carolinians in this Battle 
Greene Retires to the High Hills of the Santee Hears of the 
Fall of Yorktown The War Virtually Ends. 

E now return to the movements of General 
Greene. On the 22d of August he issued an 
order to his troops in these words : 

"The army will march to-morrow morning by the 
right, in the following order : The North Carolina 
brigade, two pieces of artillery ; Virginia brigade, two 
pieces of artillery ; Maryland brigade ; the baggage in 
the usual order according to the line of march. The 
General will beat at 4 o'clock, when all the small 
guards will join their corps ; the assembly in forty min- 
utes after, and the march at 5 o'clock." 

The two armies were only sixteen miles apart, 
but the Santee intervened, and it was not safe to 
attempt its passage in the face of the enemy. The 
route, therefore, lay up the Santee and above the 
junction of the Congaree and Wateree; then cross- 
ing the Wateree first and descending its southern 
side, then crossing the Congaree in all a circuit of 
seventy miles. The weather was so sultry that the 
army only moved in the cooler hours of the day, 
in the morning and evening. 

As soon as Stewart was informed of Greene's 
movement, he fell back down the Santee, to Eutaw 


Springs, forty miles distant, in the direction of 

Lord Rawdon had, previously to this, sailed from 
Charleston for England, but was captured by a 
French vessel on his way and was now a prisoner. 
He was an unwilling witness to the surrender of 
York town, and returned, a captive, with Lord 

He was a fit subject of retaliation for the execu- 
tion of Colonel Isaac Hayne, but Colonel Fanning, 
the Tory leader, about this time, made his celebrated 
incursion to Hillsboro and carried off Governor 
Burke. This gave the British a hostage for the 
life of Rawdon, and, perhaps, saved his lordship 
from the gibbet. 

General Greene's march was necessarily slow. 
On the a8th of August he reached Howell's Ferry, 
where he received intelligence that the enemy had 
been reinforced and were making preparations for 
a permanent post at Eutaw. It did not seem to 
occur to the British commander that Greene would 
have the temerity to attack him in his camp, but 
that was exactly what Greene was preparing to do. 

The American commander sent back all his 
heavy baggage, on the line of retreat, under a 
suitable guard, mostly militia, and took with him 
only two wagons, ladened with hospital stores and 
rum (the latter, in that day, considered the most in- 
dispensable article for an army, next to medicines). 

On the 5th of September General Greene, in his 
order of the day, informed the army of a brilliant 


victory of General Francis Marion, over a British 
convoy of three hundred men, in which twenty of 
the enemy were killed and eight}'- wounded, with 
inconsiderable loss to the American force. 

The victory was announced in glowing words 
and aroused the greatest enthusiasm and confidence 
in the hearts of the army, and they were eager for 
an opportunity to add more victories to the cam- 

On the yth day of September, General Marion 
joined General Greene at Burdell's plantation. 

Colonel Stewart lay in fancied security at Eutaw, 
wholly unapprised of the approach of his adversary. 
Every messenger or scout from his army had been 
captured or killed by the vigilance of the Ameri- 
cans, and no tidings had reached him. 

On the morning of the 8th, Colonel Stewart had 
sent out his "rooting party," as they were called, 
to gather sweet potatoes for his army, and these 
the advance of Greene's army discovered, and, after 
a feeble resistance, captured. 

The same morning, however, two deserters from 
Greene's forces made their way to the British camp 
and communicated the news of the proximity of the 
American army. Colonel Coffin, commanding the 
British cavalry, was sent immediately to recon- 
noiter the situation, and coming in contact with the 
American vanguard, soon gave information of the 

Colonel Stewart began at once to dispose his 


troops for battle. Few situations were more favor- 
able for defence. 

"On the right, was the Eutaw Creek, which, 
issuing from a deep ravine, ran under high banks, 
thick bordered with brush and underwood. The 
only open ground was a large field which had been 
cleared of its timber on both sides of the road, and 
this was commanded by a brick house two stories 
high, with garret windows, which answered the 
purpose of a third story, and with walls thick and 
strong enough to withstand the light artillery of 
the Americans. In the rear of the house there was 
a garden surrounded by a strong palisade, and cov- 
ering the space between it and Eutaw Creek. A 
barn and some smaller buildings near it afforded 
good rallying points in case of disaster. The ap- 
proach to the rear was embarrassed by springs and 
deep hollow ways, and on the right by the ravine 
from which the creek flowed, and a thicket, rendered 
almost impenetrable by a low shrub, called, in the 
language of the country, 'black-jack.' On every 
side the woods came down in dark masses to the 
border of the clearing. Midway through the clear- 
ing, and dividing it into almost equal parts, a road 
had been recently opened, which, forking directly 
in front of the house and garden, and about fifty 
3*ards from them, formed two branches, one of 
which led to Charleston, and the other to a planta- 
tion on the Santee. The British camp lay in the 
field under cover of the house and on both sides of 


the road, and when the troops marched out to form 
for battle their tents were left standing."* 

Colonel Stewart, as was the usual custom of 
British officers, drew up his army in only one line 
of battle, with a strong reserve in the rear to act as 
emergencies might require. This line was in the 
woods, a few hundred yards west of the open field, 
where they had their camp, and extended on both 
sides of the Congaree road, with the artillery in 
the centre, and moving along this highway. Hutaw 
Creek covered the right wing effectually, the left 
was in the woods to the south of the road and cov- 
ered by the cavalry under Major Coffin, a dashing 
and skillful officer. Major Majoribanks, the hero 
of the battle, was in command of the right wing, 
with his troops protected by the thick growth along 
the bank of Kutaw Creek, and the scrubby black- 
jack oaks which extended out a short distance from 
the creek bank. It was impenetrable by cavalry, 
and almost unassailable by infantry. To the south 
and left of the light infantry battalion, under 
Majoribanks, came, in their order, Crttger's com- 
mand, which was composed of several broken corps r 
then the "Buffs," with their left resting on the 
Congaree road. To the south of the road were the 
63d and 64th, two veteran regiments. Two sepa- 
rate bodies of infantry in the rear formed the 
reserve. A small detachment of infantry was 
thrown in front of the line of battle as skirmishers, 
with orders to fall back into the main line. 

*Greene's Life of General Greene, vol. 3, p. 388. 


The British officer, fully realizing the strategic 
importance of the brick mansion-house in his rear, 
as a rallying point in which a small garrison might, 
in case of disaster, be thrown, ordered it to be occu- 
pied, together with the barn, outhouses and pali- 
saded garden, and this judicious foresight saved 
his army from utter destruction. 

The British troops were well armed, and equipped 
with every necessary military outfit, and were inured 
to service and under the best discipline. It was, 
indeed, what, in this day, is called a " crack corps " 
of soldiers. Many of them were American loyalists 
and deserters, good marksmen, whose deadly aim 
was severely felt in the action. They were aware, 
to use a common figure of speech, that they fought 
with "halters around their necks," and that the 
penalty of desertion would be promptly meted out 
to them if captured. They, therefore, went into 
the fight to win or die. 

The approach of the American army was from 
the west along the Congaree road. General Greene 
had placed his militia in front at Guilford Court- 
House, and he was discomfited; at Hobkirk's 
Hill, he reversed this order, and his front line was 
composed of his veteran troops; but still fortune 
forsook him and the disaster was worse than at 
Guilford ; now, at Eutaw, the American commander 
determined to re-assume the arrangement made at 
Guilford Court-House, by again placing his militia 
in the front line. The militia, at this time, under 
Greene, had the advantage over those at Guilford, 


in that they had seen service and been trained in 
his camp, on the Santee, for the duties of the field. 
They were, in fact, well-drilled troops, and as the 
tide of victory had steadily set with the American 
army, they were inspired with the spirit of triumph 
and were impatient to end the long struggle by one 
determined effort to destroy the British army. 

They were fresh from the rest, and strong from 
the plenty they had enjoyed in camp. Physically, 
they were in the best trim for the fight and eager 
for it to begin. 

"Greene, wishing his troops to form with cool- 
ness and recollection, halted his columns, and after 
distributing the contents of his rum casks, ordered 
his men to form in order of battle." 

"The column of militia, when .displayed, formed 
the first line; the South Carolinians, in equal 
divisions, on the right and left, and the North 
Carolinians in the centre. General Marion com- 
manded the right, General Pickens the left, and 
Colonel Malmedy, a French nobleman, who held a 
commission from North Carolina, commanded the 
centre. Colonel WilJiam Henderson, with the 
South Carolina State troops, including Sumter's 
brigade, 'covered' the left of this line, and Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Lee, with his Legion, 'covered' 
the right." 

"The column of regulars, also displayed into one 
line (the second) ; the North Carolinians, under 
Brigadier General Jethro Sumner, occupied the 
right, divided into three battalions, commanded 

(45 i ) 

respectively by Colonel J. B. Ashe and Majors John 
Armstrong and Reading Blount; the Marylanders, 
under CMonel Williams on the left, divided into 
two battalions, commanded by Colonel Howard and 
Major Hardman; the Virginians in the centre, 
under command of Colonel (Richard) Campbell, 
were also divided into two battalions, led by Major 
Sneed and Captain Edmonds. The two three- 
pounders, under Captain Gaines, moved in the road 
with the first line, which was equally distributed 
to the right and left of it ; and the two six-pounders, 
under Captain Brown, attended the second line in 
the same order. Colonel William Washington still 
moved in the rear in columns, with orders to keep 
under cover of the woods, and hold himself in 

The American army had begun its march at 4 
o'clock in the morning, but it was 8 o'clock before 
the advanced parties of the British army were driven 
in and the battle begun in earnest. "The day was 
clear and calm and the sun was rising in a cloud- 
less sky." 

The advanced guard of the British was encount- 
ered by Lee's Legion and Colonel William Hender- 
son of the South Carolina State troops (mostly North 
Carolinians, as we have seen).f Coffin was soon 
thrown into confusion and fled pell-mell, leaving 
forty prisoners behind him. 

*Johnson, vol. 2, p. 223. 

fColonel Henderson was in command of Sumter's brigade. Sumter 
had not recovered from his wound. 


The regular lines, as before indicated, were 
formed, and "a steady and desperate conflict eii- 
sued " between the militia in the front line, North 
and South Carolinians, and the veteran regulars of 
the British service. The duel between the artillery 
was "bloody and obstinate in the extreme; nor 
did the American artillery relax for a moment from 
firing until both pieces were dismounted and dis- 
abled. One piece of the enemy shared the same 

The gallant and glorious record of the citizen 
soldiery of the Carolinas is thus described by 
Johnson: "Nor had the. militia been wanting in 
gallantry and perseverance. It was with equal 
astonishment that both the second line of the 
American regulars and the troops of the enemy 
contemplated these men, steadily and without, fal- 
tering, advance with shouts and exhortations into 
the hottest of the enemy? s fire , unaffected by the con- 
tinued fall of their comrades around them. Gene- 
ral Greene, to express his admiration of the firm- 
ness exhibited on this occasion b\> the militia, says 
of them in a letter to General Steuben, ' Such con- 
duct would have graced the veterans of the great 
King of Prussia? But it was impossible that this 
could endure long, for those men were all this time 
receiving the fire of double their- number. Their 
artillery was dismounted and disabled, and that 
of the enemy was vomiting destruction in their 

*Johnson's Life of Greene, TO!! 2, p. 225. 


Colonel Carrington, in '"His Battles of the 
American Revolution,"" says " the North Caro- 
lina militia, however, fired seventeen rounds before 
their retreat, and General Sumner so promptly 
pushed the battalions of Ashe, Armstrong and 
Blount into the gap that the first line was restored 
and the British in turn retreated." 

G. W. Greene thus describes the conflict : "Mean- 
while, the first line was bearing up against the 
weight of the whole English army. Their blood 
had been warmed by the skirmish, and their fire 
now ran from flank to flank throughout the line, 
neither too high nor too low, but striking with that 
fearful precision which daily practice gives to the 
hunter's aim. It was answered by the deep, regu- 
lar volleys of the British musketry. The fearful 
sound spread far and wide through the gloomy 
twilight of the wood. And still the militia held 
their ground without wavering, and still the un- 
shaken British line kept up its deadly fire." 

Stedman, in his History ,f says u the pressure 
of the enemy's fire was such as compelled the 
third regiment, or 'Buffs,' to give way, the regi- 
ment being composed of new troops. The re- 
mains of those veteran corps, the 63d and 64th 
regiments, who had served the whole of the 
war, lost none of their fame in this action. They 
rushed with bayonets into the midst of the enemy, 
nor did they give ground until overpowered by 
nirnabers and severe slaughter." 

The courage and constancy of the North Carolina 
*p. 580. tvoi. 2, p. 378. 


militia are thus avouched by American and Eng- 
lish historians. Colonel Malmedy, who commanded 
them on that day, was a French nobleman, who, 
like Lafayette, had volunteered his services to the 
Continental Congress and came to aid the colonies 
in their struggle for freedom. 

If, justly or unjustly, reproach had been cast on 
the name of the North Carolina militia, for not rally- 
ing again to their standard at the battle of Gnilford 
Court-House, after having poured such deadly fires 
into the advance of the British line, that reproach was 
blotted out on the sanguinary field of Eutaw Springs. 
They set thereto their seal of blood, on this bright 
September day, that, in the language of Erskine, 
"they were born free and would never die slaves." 

This militia was mostly from the strong Whig 
districts who had early and devotedly espoused the 
cause of independence, and were ever ready to main- 
tain the liberty for which they declared. Their obsti- 
nate and unyielding courage, on this day, was never 
excelled by any troops, and was equalled only once, 
in the invasion of the South, by the troops of North 
Carolina, who fought, at Camden, under "Hal." 
Dixon, "as long as a cartridge remained in their 
belts." To these "embattled farmers" be everlasting 
honor ! In war they handled their muskets and bayo- 
nets with the skill and gallantry of heroes ; in peace, 
they drove the ploughshare with the industry and 
constancy of patriot citizens. In both spheres they 
were Carolinians worthy of their race and their 


State, and their memories should be ever enshrined 
in the hearts of their liberated countrymen. 

Overpowered by numbers, these stern men 
retreated sullenly ; but as they fell back in sight of 
the North Carolina regulars, General Sumner gave 
the "Forward!" and the battalions of Ashe, Arm- 
strong and Blount, were pushed so promptly into 
the gap, says Carrington, that the first line was 
restored and the British in turn retreated. 

It was at this crisis in the battle, when the North 
Carolinians had forced the British to retreat, that 
General Greene sent the laconic message to Otho 
Williams, who commanded on the left of the second 
line, "Let Williams advance and sweep the field with 
his bayonets" So admirable and soldierly was the 
forward movement of the North Carolina regulars, 
made under General Sumner, that General Greene, 
in a burst of enthusiasm, exclaimed, "/ was at a 
loss which most to admire, the gallantry of the officers 
or the good conduct of their men"* It is probable 
that at least one-third of the troops who drove back 
this charge of the British, with so much impetuosity 
and intrepidity, were the same men who did such 
deadly work, with their hunting rifles, at Guilford 

They had been drilled and disciplined at Halifax, 
and at the camp on the Santee, and were burning 
to redeem the reputation which their inexperience 
had so tarnished in the former conflict. They had 
bayonets now, instead of squirrel rifles, and had 
been taught to use them, and their splendid charge 

*Johnson, vol. 2, p. 225. 


on the advancing line of English veterans, " who 
had fought through the whole war," was evidence 
of how well they had learned the military lessons 
of the camp. Officers and soldiers vied with each 
other in deeds of daring and heroism, and as the 
watchful eye of the American commander glanced 
from one to the other, in this brilliant amp de main, 
his face beamed with joy and admiration ; but when 
the conflict was over, he declared that he did not 
know on which to bestow the highest praise. Here 
let history place the wreath of honor, undivided and 
unfading forever, on the brow of officer and soldier 

Colonel Stewart, witnessing the discomfiture of 
his line, ordered up his reserve, but it was swept 
away in the torrent of retreat, which was rushing 
before the bayonets of Williams and Sumner, and 
all seemed lost to the British army. Majoribanks 
alone held his position in the black-jacks on the 
creek, and the whole British line swung around 
him, like a pivot, on the right. Helter-skelter they 
fled through the field containing their camp, and 
on to the brick mansion-house in its rear. Lee's 
infantry alone was saved from disorder and confu- 
sion in the pursuit, and were well nigh entering 
the house with the enemy, but Major Sheridan 
was victor in the race, and repelled the infantry, 
who retreated, holding some prisoners they had 
taken between them and the garrison to protect 
themselves from its deadly fire. 

Victory, which was now in the American hands, 
was jeopardized and almost lost by a hitherto 


unseen and unexpected foe ; .but one which has so 
often conquered heroes and patriots before, and 
destroyed the hopes which fortune had placed in 
their hands. General Greene had distributed his 
hogsheads of rum to his troops on the eve of battle ; 
fatigue had whetted their appetites for another po- 
tation, and as they entered the British camp they 
discovered this lurking enemy among the tents. 
They paused to drink and repeat the toast to their 
good fortune, when the vigilance of Colonel Stewart 
detected their indiscretion. His troops were ma- 
chines of military discipline, and at the word of 
command, fell into ranks and were soon on the 
Americans that loitered among the u fleshpots" of the 
camp. The Americans were driven back. Charge 
after charge had been made on Majoribanks, but 
that man, of the lion heart, still stood like a stone- 
wall and resisted every assault. Colonel Hender- 
son had fallen a wounded victim to his fire on the 
flank ; Colonel Washington was a wounded captive 
in his hands, and a lieutenant and an ensign of this 
gallant band of cavalry were left alone to lead its 
shattered columns. 

Lee had been ordered to charge on the right, but 
was not to be found by the messenger. Coffin was 
advancing unopposed on the American right and 
the tide was setting fast against the American arms. 
Some one blundered again by rushing the cannon 
in the field to bombard the mansion-house, but 
dragging it too close, the artillerists were shot down 
by the garrison and the cannons were abandoned. 


Greene still held to his prisoners taken in the 
early part of the action ; buc seeing that all would 
be lost if his army were not re-organized, ordered 
a retreat. Coffin was advancing, Lee could nowhere 
be found, and Greene called on Colonel Hampton, 
who had succeeded Henderson in the field, to cover 
the retreat. 

This was gallantly done. Coffin was driven to 
the field again, but Hampton, in his impetuosity r 
was exposed to the fire, from the black-jacks, which 
Colonel Polk declared seemed to him " to kill every 
man but himself." 

The retreat of Coffin gave the Americans time to 
rally west of the British camp, in the woods, where 
the first conflict began. 

The enemy was too much crippled "to venture 
beyond the cover of the house." 

General Greene halted long enough to collect his 
wounded, and having made arrangements to bury 
his dead, left a strong picket under Colonel Hampton 
on the field; he withdrew his army to Burdells, 
seven miles distant. 

u Both parties," says Johnson, "claimed the vic- 
tory, but there is no difficulty in deciding the question 
between them upon the plainest principles. The 
British army was chased from the field at the point 
of the bayonet and took refuge in a fortress ; the 
Americans were repulsed from that fortress." 

But in my judgment, it was not the fortress that 
gave the English the victory claimed. It was the 

camp, with its rum and spoils, that demoralized the 
pursuit of the enemy and intoxicated the pursuers. 

Disorder and indiscretion, weakness and inde- 
cision followed, and the victory was lost. 

In reading the history of the Revolutionary war, 
the student of this day is often astonished, and 
sometimes amused, to read the reports of our officers 
who state with much glorification that they captured 
a large quantity of necessary supplies, so much 
wanted in the American camp, and in the enumera- 
tion of these "necessary supplies " they begin with 
" rum " and follow with ".bread and hospital stores." 
It was seldom that "rum" was ever destroyed to 
lessen the burden of the march. We have seen 
that Greene sent back his baggage before the battle 
began, but was careful to retain the "hogsheads of 
rum and hospital stores." 

The British commander did not stay long or 
consider much "the order of his going." 

" McArthur was called up fronr Fairlawn to 
cover Colonel Stewart's retreat; and leaving sev- 
enty of his wounded to his enemy, and many of 
his dead unburied; breaking the stocks of one 
thousand stand of arms and casting them into the 
spring; destroying his stores and then moving off 
precipitately, the English commander fell back and 
retreated to Fairlawn."* 

General Greene pursued for one day, on the road 
to Charleston, but finding that Colonel Stewart 
still retired -before him, and being now left at lib- 
Johnson, vol. 2. p. 2^2. 


erty to watch the movements of Cornwallis ; and his 
wounded and prisoners requiring his attention, he 
resolved again to retire to the High Hills of the 

The last regular army of the Crown had been 
driven to its seacoast defence, bleeding and 
dying. Majoribanks, the gallant deliverer of 
this shattered army, was wounded, and shortly 
thereafter died. He was buried on the roadside in 
their flight to the sea. Webster and Majoribanks, 
it may be said of them, that they offered themselves 
as willing sacrifices to their king, knowing that 
only with their lives could be purchased the escape 
of their commands from destruction. Both sur- 
vived their battles long enough to be told that the 
American commander had fled from the field, but 
both lived to find that commander following the 
line of their flight. Both died on their way to the 
sea, and were buried in the land they fought to 
enslave. To the credit of that land no dishonor 
has been shown to their last resting-places, and, 
though foes to American liberty, their names, as 
soldiers, will ever awaken in every manly breast, a 
feeling of pity for their misfortune, and a chivalric 
sentiment of admiration for the heroic spirits which 
animated them in their discharge of duty to their 
Crown and kingdom. The brave are never con- 

The Americans captured and held 500 prisoners 
as the result of this battle. They lost forty prisoners. 
They captured one cannon, and by indiscretion lost 

( 4 6 i ) 

four. Sixty-one American officers had been killed 
and wounded. Twentv-one of these had died on the 


field of battle, and among them Colonel Richard 
Campbell, of Virginia, who had shared the honors 
and the toils of the campaign from " Camp Repose," 
on the Pee Dee, to this last battle in the south. He 
fell as his victorious troops were driving the enemy 
before them; he was pierced by a ball through the 
breast, and only survived a few hours. 

The whole American casualties are given by 
General Greene, as one lieutenant colonel, six cap- 
tains, five subalterns, and ninety rank and file, 
killed ; two lieutenant - colonels, Henderson and 
Howard, seven captains, twenty lieutenants, twenty- 
four sergeants and two hundred and nine rank 
and file, wounded. Colonel Washington fell into 
the hands of the enemy a wounded prisoner. 

The British casualties are given by Colonel 
Stewart, as three commissioned officers, six ser- 
geants and seventy-six men, killed ; sixteen com- 
missioned officers, twenty sergeants, and two hun- 
dred and thirty-two men, missing. Total casualties 
six hundred and ninety-three. These casualties 
are, however, far below the true figures, for he lost 
five hundred prisoners, double his admitted loss of 

On the 1 2th day of September, four days after 
the battle on the 8th, General Greene recrossed the 
Santee at Nelson's Ferry, and on the i5th was in 
his old camp at the "High Hills of Santee." His 
army was soon reduced to less than one thousand 

( 4 6 2 ) 

effective men, with nearly six hundred wounded, 
of both armies, in his charge. 

On the 9th of November, General Greene's camp 
was enlivened by the news of the surrender of 
Cornwallis at Yorktown. 

On the 1 8th the High Hills were abandoned, and 
numerous minor operations concluded the Southern 
campaign; but the armies did not again meet in 
the field."* 

*Carrington's Battles, p. 583. 


Sketches of Charles and Joseph McDowell Joseph Graham Major 
"Hal." Dixon Brigadier General Jethro Simmer General 
Rutherford General Butler The End. 

[ T was not my original purpose to relate all the 
-*- minor military transactions which occurred auring 
the invasion of the Southern Colonies, nor to record 
the conflicts between the Whigs and Tories, which 
were collateral to the general operations of the 
American and English armies, and, therefore, I 
sha.ll not further pursue the narrative of those less 
events which followed the battle of Eutaw Springs. 
Here is a pleasant resting-place, for the contempla- 
tion of North Carolinians,where her Regular soldiers 
won such imperishable renown and her Militia were 
no less gallant and steady than her Regulars. North 
Carolina furnished half the soldiers who fought the 
battle of Eutaw Springs and drove the British army 
of invasion forever from the Southern provinces. 
The tidings of this victory reached Yorktown and 
inspired the besiegers with fresh spirit and enter- 
prise, and brought dismay to those within, who were 
only counting the days when their captivity would 
begin. Independence was about to burst like a 
beacon light over the American States. 

It is due, however, to some of the heroes of North 
Carolina, who bore such conspicuous parts in this 
noble struggle for liberty, that they should be better 


known to our people, in order that honor may yet 
be done to their memories. 

To the brothers, CHARLES and JOSEPH McDowELL, 
of Quaker Meadows, and to their no less gallant 
cousin, Joseph McDowell, of Pleasant Garden, 
Burke County, North Carolina, are due more credit 
and honor for the victory of King's Mountain than 
to any other leaders who participated in that decisive 
and wonderful battle. Yet, the name of McDowell 
does not appear on the granite shaft, raised by patriot 
hands, on those memorable heights a reproach 
to the intelligence of the men who wrote its inscrip- 
tions and an indignity to North Carolina which 
contributed so largely to construct the monument. 
It was Colonel Charles McDowell, and Major Joseph 
McDowell, his brother, who originated the idea of 
organizing a force to capture Ferguson, and in con- 
junction with their cousin, they were the most 
prominent in executing the plan which they had 

Major Joseph McDowell was subsequently a 
General of militia and was known as General 
McDowell. He also served as a member of Con- 
gress from North Carolina during the years of 1787, 
1788, 1791 and 1792. In 1788 he was a member of 
the State Convention which met for the considera- 
tion of the Federal Constitution. He was of Scotch- 
Irish descent ; his ancestors came to North Carolina 
by the way of Virginia. The McDowells of North 
Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio are all of 
one common stock. 


On one of the foot hills of the Blue Ridge, a 
beautiful round knob, selected for its lovely view, 
and overhanging the "Quaker Meadows," is the 
cemetery of the McDowell family. On a slab of 
marble, erected as a head-stone, is this inscription : 







By his side is the unmarked grave of Major 
Joseph McDowell, his brother. Not a stone is raised 
to his memory ; not a line is carved to recount his 
deeds of valor and patriotism ; no epitaph tells the 
story of King's Mountain and Cowpens and Ram- 
sour's Mill, where he was foremost in the fight ; 
no record speaks to the stranger and says, here lies 
a hero who was victorious in every field, and never 
turned his back on a foe. The only mark that 
indicates the grave of this gallant soldier is the 
letter J rudely carved on a white oak tree that stands 
at its head. 

What a reproach to those who enjoy the liber- 
ties that were purchased with his blood ! Will the 
State he loved and served so well suffer this re- 
proach to continue ? 

Close by his side, the remains of his cousin, 


Joseph McDowell, of Pleasant Garden, lie. On a 
head-stone is this inscription : 



(the other figure obliterated) 


GENERAL JOSEPH GRAHAM, who was Major of 
mounted infantry, or dragoons, during the war, 
has done more to vindicate the truth of North Caro- 
lina's Revolutionary history than any citizen she has 

The carefully-prepared articles which he wrote 
in 1821, for Judge Murphey, who was, at that time, 
collecting material for a history of North Carolina, 
have been published in the University Magazine, 
at Chapel Hill. They were designed to correct the 
misstatements of cotemporary historians, who were 
blindly following in the footpath of error, which 
others had trodden, as is so much the custom of this 
day. They were written by Major Graham, who 
was an eye-witness and participant in most of the 
events related, and he appeals to the hundreds of 
his associates, then living, for the truth of his story. 

To these sketches the author again acknowledges 
his indebtedness for much that has been reproduced 
in this book. 

Perhaps the most brilliant officer, whose services 
enriched the annals of that memorable invasion, 
was MAJOR "HAL." DIXON, whose dashing- and 


impetuous courage was so splendidly displayed 
among the shattered legions of Gates, at Camden. 
He refused to fly when his comrades had been 
driven from the field and his devoted band had been 
left exposed to the bayonet charge on its front and 
flanks. With a fierce spirit he faced his battalion to 
the charge, from either side, and fought as "long as 
a cartridge was in his belt," then, resorting to the 
bayonet himself, he cut his way through the attack- 
ing hosts and made good his retreat. We know 
from the roster that he died July lyth, 1782, after 
Independence had been won, but where he closed 
his eyes in death or where is his unmarked grave, 
we cannot tell. His letters, in 1781, several times, 
speak of returning to Caswell County, and it may 
be that his remains rest there, "in hope again to 

rise.' 1 

Among the militia officers, whose constant labors 
and services were devoted to their country's cause, 
two men deserve most honorable mention : BRIGA- 
of Orange County. They were seldom out of the 
military field, and always bore themselves proudly 
and manfully in battle. General Rutherford was 
severely wounded at Gates' defeat in August, 1780, 
and afterwards was a great sufferer in the prison 
camp of the enemy at St. Augustine. He was 
exchanged in July, 1781, and in September he was 
again in the field. He was honored by having a 
county named for him. He subsequently removed 

( 4 68) 

to Tennessee, where a like honor was in store for 

The greatest soldier of that day, from North Caro- 
of Warren County. We know that he passed, 
without reproach, through the terrible campaigns 
of Washington, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, 
and survived as one of the seven hundred from a 
brigade of more than five thousand men, and was 
promoted for gallantry and skill displayed amid those 
bloody scenes. For his constancy, fidelity and 
great influence in the State, he was detached to 
raise the four new regiments of regulars in North 
Carolina in lySo-'Si, and his letters during that 
period evince such a lofty and unselfish patriotism 
that they challenge the admiration of every reader. 
If his patriotic offer to command the militia, assem- 
bling for the battle of Guilford Court-House, had 
been accepted, it is probable, nay, almost certain, 
that the revolutionary struggle would have ended 
at that place, instead of Yorktown, and that the 
lives of thousands of good men would have been 
spared. Under his eye, and with his discipline and 
example to prepare and encourage them, the North 
Carolina regulars and militia were among the fore- 
most in the fight, exciting the wonder and admira- 
tion of General Greene, at Kutaw Springs. 

In the most distressing condition of public affairs ; 
amidst the jealousies of the smaller men of that day ; 
without arms or equipments for his soldiers when 
organized; surrounded by doubting patriots and 

disloyal Tories, he never lowered his crest or trailed 
his flag in the dust, but with undaunted will and 
unswerving faith, he struggled manfully against 
every obstacle and danger, until at last he was able 
to put in the field three battalions of disciplined 
soldiers, who gave the final and fatal blow to British 
prestige and power in the South. He made no 
parade over his victory, but was as modest in 
triumph as he was constant and faithful in disaster. 
One of the earliest military orders preserved in 
North Carolina is this: 

"!N COMMITTEE OF SAFETY, November 28th, 1775. 

"Ordered that Major Jethro Sumner raise what minute 
men and volunteers he can and follow Colonel Long 
with the utmost despatch. A copy by order, 

u OROND r . DAVIS, Clerk." 

And from that day to the end of the struggle, 
more than seven years, he was in the active service 
of his country. It is not recorded of him, that he 
ever fled from the foe or left his soldiers in the field. 
He enjoyed the full confidence of Washington, 
Lafayette and Greene, and was their correspondent 
while he was in the South. 

His letters do not indicate that he was either 
educated or -cultivated, but he possessed that native 
genius and originality of thought that gave him 
confidence and power in every emergency. He 
knew men and things from observation and expe- 
rience, and was ever ready to profit by the knowl- 


He was not irritable like Greene, and, in his 
unguarded correspondence, never spoke evil of his 
enemies. He was hopeful, patient, serene and 
faithful in the most trying scenes of life, and never 
faltered in his devotion to the cause of the Colonies. 

I have no authentic record of General Stunner's 
early life. Wheeler says he was born in Virginia, 
but Wheeler is so often inaccurate that he can- 
not; be relied upon. In the same sketch he says, 
"General Sumner behaved gallantly at Cainden." 
He was not there. He was appointed Colonel 
of the third regiment of Regulars the i5th of April, 
1776, and Brigadier General the Qth January, 1779. 

After the war General Sumner married a wealthy 
widow, a Mrs. Heiss, of Newbern, by whom he had 
three children Thomas Edward, who died without 
issue; "Jacky," who also left "no continuance ;" 
Mary, his daughter, married Hon. Thomas Blount, 
a member of Congress, and brother of Major Read- 
ing Blount, who fought at Hutaw Springs. She 
had no children, and the generation of General 
Sumner ended with her death. 

He was buried in Warren County, near the road 
that runs from Louisburg to Warrenton, and near 
the old Shocco Chapel. There is a slab over his 
grave with this inscription : 



I 77 6." 


Not a county or town in the State bears his name. 
The day of his death and his birth are alike un- 
known. No voice has been raised in eulogy of his 
heroic character ; no public recognition of his services 
has ever been made ; modest and unpretentious in 
life, neglected in his death, this great Carolinian 
sleeps in the solitude of the forest, where the waste 
of time will soon obliterate the trace and memory 
of his grave. 

" IvO ! here he lies, who every danger braved ; 
Unwept, unhonored, in the land he saved." 

Will not some young North Carolinian under- 
take the honorable task of having these sacred 
remains removed to the capital of the State, and 
marked by a monument, worthy of the memory and 
heroic deeds of this noble soldier ? 

My task is done. My duty to my State is per- 
formed. In reading the histories of the invasion 
of the Colonies, in i78o-'8i, my heart burned with 
indignation at the many misrepresentations, of the 
people of North Carolina, which had so long gone 
unchallenged. I was surprised at the way the 
State had been robbed of her honors, and unjustly 
reproached by unworthy men, and astonished that 
our own authors had repeated these reproaches, 
rather than take the trouble to investigate the 
truth of history and repel them. I therefore deter- 
mined to do what I could to correct these misrepre- 
sentations, and resent the reproaches so unjustly 
cast on my native State, which I so fondly love. 
This book is the result of that determination. 


It was prepared among the busy cares of a law- 
yer's office, with a full practice on my hands; but 
if it shall serve to awaken the slumbering pride of 
our people, who have been more modest than wise, 
or provoke them to investigate the truth of North 
Carolina history, or increase their love and devotion 
to the "good old North State," the object of my 
book shall have been accomplished. 







Moore, James 1 Sept., 1775 

Brigadier General 10 April, 1776 

Nash, Francis 10 April, 1776 

Brigadier General -5 Feb., 1777 
Clark, Thomas 5 Feb., 1777 


Nash, Francis 1 Sept., 1775 j Davis, William 5 Feb., 1777 

Clark, Thomas 10 April, 1776 ' 


Clark, Thomas 1 Sept., 1775 I Williams, William 6,13 June, 1776 

Davis, William to April, 1776 ' Walker, John 20 April, 1777 




Williams, William--i Sept., 1775 Kennon, William_-23 Sept., 1776 
DeKeyser, Lehansyus, CHAPLAIN. 

16 Sept., 1775 j Tate , JameS 13 Oct., 1775 



Guion, Isaac 1 Sept. 1775 _ , , , ~ , 

Helmburgh, Fred- 15 March, 1778 B y d > Adam -Oct., 1777 


Bradley, Richard--5 March, 1777 
Lord, William _ii Dec., 1776 

*Hon. W. L. Saunders. 



Davis, William 

Picket, William 

Dickson, Henry* 

Allen, Thomas 

Rice, Hezekiah 

Rowan, Robert 

Davidson, George -- 

Moore, Alfred 

Walker, John 

Green, William 

Grainger, Caleb 

Hogg, Thomas.. . i 

i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
i Sept., 1775 
March, 1776 

Thompson, Lawrence, 

15 Aug., 1776- 
Bowman, Joshua _-i8 Sept., 1776 

Dixon, Tilghman 5 Feb., 1777 

Rolstou, Robert- -.8 March, 1777 

Tatum, Howell 3 April, 1777 

Brown, Johnf 26 April, 1777 

Reed, James 8 July, 1777 

Armstrong, Wm 29 Aug., 1777 

Summers, John zojuly, 1778 

King, James -i April, 1780 

Callender, Thomas. , 1780 


Lillington, John 1 Sept., 1775 

Berryhill, William-- 1 Sept., 1775 

Rice, Hezekiah 1 Sept., 1775 

Bowman, Joshua i Sept., 1/75 

McNeill, Hector i Sept., 1775 

Brandon, William- -i Sept., 1775 
Thompson, Lawrence, 

i Sept., 1775 

Tatum, Absalom 1 Sept., 1775 

Hill, William i Sept., 1775 

Hogg, Thomas 1 Sept., 1775 

Dixon, Tilghman 20 Oct., 1775 

Reed, James 7 July, 1776 

Callender, Thomas. -i Jan., 1777 
Gambelle, Edmund .20 Jan., 1777 
Walters, William --.5 Feb., 1777 
Summers, John 5 Feb., 1777 


McAlister, Neil 1 Sept., 1775 

Childs, James 1 Sept., 1775 

Graham, George 1 Sept., 1775 

Moore, Maurice, Jr.,i Sept., 1775 

Neill, Henry 1 Sept,, 1775 

Rolston, Robert i Sept., 1775 

Taylor, John i Sept., 1775 

Turner, Berry man..i Sept., 1775 

Pope, Henry 1 Sept., 1775 

Tatum, Howell 1 Sept., 1775 

Blythe, Samuel 5 Feb., 1777 

Baker, Peter 8 Feb., 1777 

Hall, Thomas 8 Feb., 1777 

Varner, Robert 8 March, 1777 

Watters, Samuel .29 March, 1777 

King, James 3 April, 1777 

Rogers, Patrick 3 April, 1777 

Rice, John 8 April, 1777 

Marshall, Dixon 26 April, 1777 

Scull, John 26 April, 1777 

Hair, John L 16 Aug., 1777 

Council, Robert- -.20 Aug., 1777 

Milligan, James 29 Aug., 1777 

Armstrong, William , 1777 

Craven, James , 1777 

Picket, Thomas 20 Oct., 

Brown, John 20 Oct., 

Cheese, John n June, 

Craven, James n June, 

Callender, Thomas, u June, 
Marshall, Dixon .28 March, 
Crawford, David lojune, 

Erwin, John- , 

Council, Robert , 

Milligan, James , 



Howe, Robert 1 Sept., 1775 

Brigadier General 10 April, 1776 

Martin, Alexander -io April, 1776 
Patton,John 22 Nov., 1777 


Martin, Alexander- -i Sept., 1775 
Patton, John io April, 1776 

Harney, Selby 22 Nov., 1777 

Murfree, Hardy 1 April, 1778 

*Afterwards Colonel "Hal" Dickson. 
t Afterwards Colonel. 


Pattern, John i Sept., 1775 

White, John 10 April, 1776 


Murfree, Hardy i Feb., 1777 



White, John i Sept., 1775 

Ingles, John 3 May, 1776 

Evans, Thomas 22 Nov., 1778 


Pasteur, William.- -i Sept., 1775 
McClure, William- _-7 June, 1776 


Fenner, Richard 


Spicer, John n Dec., 1776 

Fenner, Robert I June, 1778 


Slade, Stephen i Jan., 1778 


Salter, Robert 23 April, 1776 

Salter, James 19 Dec., 1776 


Blount, James 

Armstrong, John*- 
Crawford, Charles - 
Murfree, Hardy 
Toole. Henry Irwin 

Keais, Nathan 

Bright, Simon 

Payne, Michael 

Walker, John 

Fenner, William--. 

Herritage, John 

Vail, Edward, Jr. 

-i Sept. 
-i Sept. 
-i Sept. 
-i Sept. 
-i Sept. 
- 1 Sept. 
- 1 Sept. 
.i Sept., 1775 
-i Sept., 1775 
...I May, 1776 
.-3 May, 1776 
21 Aug., 1776 


Hall, Clement 19 April, 1777 

Martin, James 20 April, 1777 

Tarraut, Manlove---24 Oct., 1777 

Ingles, John .12 Nov., 1777 

Cradock, John 21 Dec., 1777 

Allen, Charles , 1777 

Gee, James , 1777 

Williams, Benjamin , 1777 

Fenner, Robert 4 Oct., 1777 

Da^es, John 8 Sept., 1781 

Evans, Thomas 1 June, 1781 

Budd, Samuel , 1782 


Grainger, John 1 Sept., 1775 

Smith, Robert i Sept., 1775 

Herritage, John i Sept., 1775 

Hall, Clement i Sept., 1775 

Vail, Edward, Jr i Sept., 1775 

Tate, Joseph 1 Sept., 1775 

Fenner, William i Sept., 1775 

Williams, John i Sept., 1775 

Gee, James 1 Sept., 1775 

Williams, Benjamin, i Sept., 1775 
Gardner, William -.20 Oct., 1775 

Fenner, Robert ---ijan., 1776 

Vance, David 20 April, 1776 

Lowe, Philip 3 May, 1776 

Worth, Joseph 3 May, 1776 

Standing, Thomas- -.3 May, 1776 

Martin, James 3 May, 1776 

Nash, Clement 3 May, 1776 

Ingles, John 3 May, 1776 

Graham, Richard 8 June, 1776 
Martin, Samuel 8 June, 1776 

Tarrant, Manlove 8 June, 1776 

Allen, Charles 8 June, 1776 

Evans, Thomas 19 July, 1776 

Jacob, John .. i Nov., 1776 

Williams, John 21 April, 1777 

Buford, William ---15 May, 1777 

Luton, James 4 Oct., 1777 

Daves, John Oct., 1777 

Andrews, Richard-- , 1777 

Cradock, John , 1777 

Cotgrave, Arthur. .. , 1777 

Mcllwaine, Stringer , 1777 

Parkinson, James , 1777 

Rolstone. Isaac , 1777 

Raiford, John -^ , 1777 

Sawyer, Levy , 1777 

Campen, James , 1777 

Budd, Samuel-- , 1777 

Slade, Stephen njan., 1781 

Feuuer, Richard ---12 May, 1781 

*Afterwards Colonel. 



Vipon, Henry 1 Sept., 1775 

Pugh, Whitmel 1 Sept., 1775 

Oliver, John i Sept., 1775 

Lowe, Philip 1 Sept., 1775 

Gardner, William -_i Sept., 1775 
Cleveland, Benjamin, 

I Sept., 1775 

Cook, James 1 Sept., 1775 

Caswell, William--. i Sept., 1775 

Clinch, James 1 Sept., 1775 

Woodhouse, John _-i Sept., 1775 
McClatmny, Joseph .20 Oct., 1775 
Standing, Thomas-- 20 Oct., 1775 

Allen, Charles 20 Oct., 1775 

Worth, Joseph 20 Oct., 1775 

Cradock, John 3 May, 1776 

Tarrant, Manlove 3 May, 1776 
Smith, Samuel 3 May, 1776 

Tochsey, William. -.3 May, 1776 
Sawyer, William 15 May, 1776 

Evans, Thomas 6 June, 1776 

Kilbey, Wm. Tyler- .6 June, 1776 

Jacobs, John 6 June, 1776 

Bickerstaff, John 8 June, 1776 

Rolestone, Isaac 8 June, 1776 

Vance, David 8 June, 1776 

Campen, James n Dec., 1776 

Williams, William. n Dec., 1776 

Pilley, John n Dec., 1776 

Daves, John 30 Sept., 1776 

Curtis, Reuben , 1777 

Luton, James , 1777 

Slade, Stephen-- -.5 Sept., 1778 

Lacey, John 20 May, 1779 

Fenner, Richard lojan., 1780 



Sumner, April, 1776. Brigadier General, 9 Jan., 1779. 


Ashton, William .-15 April, 1776 
Brewster, Lott 25 Oct., 1777 

Dixou, Henry 12 May, 1778 


L,ockhart, Samuel -15 April, 1776 

Dixon, Henry 8 July, 1777 

(From ist Regiment.) 


Eaton, Pinketham.22 Nov., 1777 
Emmett, James 15 Feb., 1778 

Washington, Robert 

15 April, 1776 

Hodgton, Alvery--- , 1777 

Hart, Anthony , 1778 


Hall, Robert 17 April, 1776 

Usher, William 4 Dec. ,1776 

Ridley, William. _-2i April, 1777 


Bradley, Richard-.- , 1777 

Ballard, Kedar 10 Oct., 1779 

Blount, William n Dec., 1778 

Wilson, Whitfield-24 April, 1777 

Colman, Charles 14 Oct., 1777 

Clandennin, John. .14 Dec., 1779 


Webb, John 23 April, 1776 

Amis, William 6 May, 1776 

Amis, Thomas 22 Dec., 1776 



Brinkley, William. 16 
Eaton, Pinketham-i6 

Emmet, James 16 

Cranberry, Thomas, 

Gray, John 16 

Barrot, William ---i6 
Cranberry, George, 16 

Cook, James 16 

Jones, Daniel 

April, 1776 
April, 1776 
April, 1776 

April, 1776 
April, 1776 
April, 1776 
April, 1776 
April, 1776 
, 1776 

Ballard, Kedar - 
Wood, Matthew - 
Madearis, John 

._.- Nov. 

...22 NOV. 

23 Dec. 

Edmund, Nicholas _ 

Bradley, Gee 19 Sept. 

Montford, Joseph 9 Jan. 
Yarborough, Edward Jan. 
Fawn, William 


Ballard, Kedar 16 April, 1776 

Lytle, Micajah 3 May, 1776 

Wood, Matthew 24 July, 1776 

Linton, William 24 July, 1776 

Bradley, Gee , 1776 

Madearis, John 15 April, 1777 

Fawn, William 15 April, 1777 

Montford, Joseph __i6 April, 1777 
Rushworm, Wm---i6 April, 1777 




Hart, Anthony 16 April, 1777 

Yarborough, Edward, 

16 April 1777 

O'Neal, Charles 20 July 

Clandennin, John. .23 Dec. 

Hodgton, Alvery 

Granberry, John 

Tillery, John 

Lackey, Christopher 


Clandennin, John- 15 April, 1776 
Yarborough, Edward 8 May, 1776 

Morgan, Benjamin.. , 1776 

O'Neal, Charles- -.18 April, 1777 



Polk, Thomas 15 April, 1776. 


Thaxton, James 15 April, 1776 | Armstrong, John 17 July, 1782 

Davidson, William ..15 April, 1776 | Nelson, John 3 Feb., 1778 



Williams, William.--i5 April, 1776 | Pasteur, William 12 Dec., 1776 

Covington, William.28 March, 1777 ' Duncan, Robert , 1/77 

Slade, William I June, 1778 I Pasteur, Thomas. ...19 Oct., 1782 

Pasteur. Thomas.... 26 June, 1779 j COMMISSARY. 

SURGEONS. Southerland, Ransome, 

Boyd, Hugh 17 April, 1776 23 April, 1776 

Usher, William 24 April, 1777 Mallett, Daniel 16 Dec., 1776 


Douglas, William 10 Feb., 1777 Atkin, James .5 April, 1777 



Moore, Roger 16 April, 1776 

Ashe, John 16 April, 1776 

Maclaine, John 16 April, 1776 

Smith, Robert 16 April, 1776 

Coles, William T 16 April, 1776 

Harris, Thomas .16 April, 1776 

Philips, Joseph 16 April, 1776 

Nelson, John 16 April, 1776 

Goodman, William I Oct., 1776 

Williams, James 3 April, 1777 

Lewis, Micajah 25 July, 1777 

Carter, Benjamin I Jan., 1779 

Brevard, Alexander ..20 Oct., 1780 

Williams, James 7 June 

Coots, James 2O Nov. 

Whitmel, blunt 20 Nov. 

Carter, Benjamin 22 Nov. 

Brevard, Alexander 9 Dec. 

McGibbony, Patrick -.9 Dec. 

Williams, William 9 Dec. 

Wilkinson, Reuben 9 Dec. 

Pollock, Jacob 

Alexander, Charles 20 Jan., 
Moslander, Abel 25 Jan., 



Roulledge, William ..25 Jan., 1777 

Jones, David 3 April, 1777 

Polk, Charles 25 April, 1777 

Slade. William I May, 1777 

Redpelh, John 20 Aug., 1777 

Gillespie, Robert Aug., 1777 

Knott, William , 1777 

Hickman, William , 1777 

Pasteur, Thomas 29 Dec., 1778 

Hollingsworth, Charles , 


Brevard, Alexander. .27 Nov., 1776 
McGibbony, Patrick. 27 Nov., 1776 

Pasteur, Thomas 15 July, 1777 

Murray, William I April, 1777 

McCarthy, Florence. ..I May, 1777 

Nelson, Alexander I July, 1777 

Gillespie, Robert , 1777 

Curtis, Joshua , 



Buncombe, Edward 15 April, 1776. 


Irwin, Henry 15 April, 1776 

Davidson, Wm. L 4 Oct., 1777 

Dawson, Levy 19 Oct., 1777 


Dawson, Levy 15 April, 1776 

Hogg, Thomas 4 Oct., 1777 

Blount, Reading 

-, 1782 


Darnall, Henry. ..*.. 15 April, 1776 

Verrier, James I Oct., 1776 

Armstrong, Thomas, A. D. C., 

28 March, 1782 


Cooley, Samuel 16 April, 1 776 

Mallett, Peter 23 April, 1776 



Rogers, John, Jr n Dec., 1776 


Swann, Nimrod 18 June, 1777 


Foard, Hezekiah 20 April, 1777 

Boyd, Adam I Oct., 1777 



Blount, Reading 
Enloe John 

.16 April, 1776 
. 16 April, 1776 

Caswe'l, William 
Alderi-on, Simon 
Stedman. Benjamin 
Simon-; Peter 

.16 April, 1776 
.16 Apiil, 1776 
.16 April, 1776 
16 Ap'ril, 1776 

Williams, John P 
Ward William 

.16 April, 1776 
.16 April, 1776 

Darnall. Henrv.. 

..I Oct.. 1776 

Coleman. Benjamin. .30 April, 

Groves, William 17 Aug., 

Armstrong, Thomas. .25 Oct., 
Goodin, Christopher.. Jan., 

Porterfield, Dennis I Feb., 

Stewart, Charles 12 May, 

Bailey, Brnjamin 8 Sept., 

Herd, Jesse l April, 

McNees, John 2 Nov., 


Eborne, Thomas 16 April, 1776 

Cooper, William 16 April, 1776 

Armstrong, Thomas. 16 April, 1776 

Groves, William 16 April, 1776 

Lockey, Christopher.. 3 May, 1776 

Little, Micajah.- 6 May, 1776 

Allen, John I Oct.. 1776 

Bailey, Benjamin Oct., 1776 

Curtis, John Oct. , 1 776 

Eborne. John Oct., 1776 

Hodges, John Oct., 1776 

Long, Nehemiah Oct., 1776 

Reed, Jesse 20 Oct., 1776 

Sugg, George , 1776 

McNees, John 8 March, 1777 

Roberts, John 28 March, 

Hewell, William... 28 March, 

Ewell, William 20 April, 

Blount, Thomas 28 April, 

Stewart, Charles 23 July, 

Diggs, Anthony 20 Aug., 

Smith, Jabez .1 Sept., 

Gerald, Charles .19 Dec., 

Allen, Walter 4 Oct., 

Ivey, Curtis loOct., 

Holland, Spier 25 Oct., 

Allen, Thomas , 

Verrier, James June, 

Crutches, Anthony 18 May, 




Holland, Spier 24 March, 

Alderson, Thomas 3 May, 

Hodges, John 4 May, 

McKinne, James 9 May, 

Palmer. Joseph 6 June, 

Bush, John , 

Woolen, Shadrach , 

Diggs, Anthony 20 March, 


Allen, Walter 28 March, 1777 

Ivey, Curtis 23 April, 1777 

Gerald, Charles 30 April, 1777 

Crutches, Henry 20 Aug., 1777 

Verrier, James 20 Aug., 1777 

Smith, Jabez , 1777 

Crutches, Anthony 27 Feb., 1780 



Lillington, Alexander. 1 5 April, 1776 | Lamb, Gideon 26 Jan., 1777 


Taylor, William 15 April, 1776 

Lytle, Archibald 26 Jan., 1777 

Ashe, John B 2 Nov., 1778 


Lamb, Gideon 15 April, 1776 

Ashe, John B 26 Jan., 1777 

McRee, Griffith J...H Sept., 1781 

Donoho, Thomas 13 Oct., 1781 

Dougherty, George.. .17 July, 1782 




Crafton, Bennet 15 April, 1776 

Coffield, Benjamin. ..17 May, 1777 


McClure, William.. .17 April, 1776 
Wilson, Robert 8 June, 1776 


Moseley. William II Dec., 1776 

Cheesboro, John 3 July, 1777 

Dixon, Charles 19 Jan., 1778 


Johnson, James 2 April, 1777 

Shaw, Daniel 2 June, 1778 

Hart, Thomas 23 April, 1776 


James, John 16 April, 1776 

Mitchell, George 16 April, 1776 

Council, Arthur 16 April, 1776 

McRee, Griffith J ..16 April, 1776 

Taylor, Philip 16 April, 1776 

Lytle, Archibald 16 April, 1776 

Saunders, Jesse 16 April, 1776 

Ashe, John Baptista.i6 April, 1776 
Glover, William 7 May, 1776 

Donoho, Thomas IO Sept. 

Dougherty, George 28 Oct. 

White, Thomas 20 Jan. 

Child, Francis 26 Jan. 

Williams, Daniel I April 

Pike, Benjamin 28 April 

Little, William 28 Jan. 

Hadley, Joshua 13 June 

Jones, Samuel 


Little, William 16 April, 1776 

Armstrong, Andrew.i6 April, 1776 
Goodin, Christopher. 16 April, 1776 

Moore, Dempsey 16 April, 1776 

Thompson, Samuel. .16 April, 1776 

Glover, William 16 April, 1776 

Pike, Benjamin 16 April, 1776 

Henderson, Pleasant. 16 April, 1776 

Williams, Daniel 16 April, 1776 

Child, Francis 16 April, 1776 

Love, Amos 16 April, 1776 

White, Thomas 16 April, 1776 

Armstrong, Thomas. 16 April, 1776 

Kennon, John, 1776 

Donoho, Thomas 16 April, 1776 

Dougherty, George..i6 April, 1776 

McCann, John 16 April, 1776 

Hart, John 7 May, 1776 

Owens, John 7 May, 1776 

Martin, Samuel 6 June, 

Jones, Maurice 15 June, 

Lytle, William 6 June, 

Grant, Reuben 6 June, 

Pasteur, John 2 July, 

Parker, Kedar 19 Sept., 

Green, William 28 Oct., 

Jones, Samuel I Jan., 

Hadley, Joshua . -I April, 

Hilton, William. I April, 

Porterfield, Dennis 2 April, 

Walker, Solomon 20 April, 

Handcock, William. .28 April, 
Dickinson, Richard. .10 Oct., 

Shaw, Daniel.. II Oct., 

White, Matthew , 

Dixon, Charles 8 Feb., 

Saunders, William 8 Feb., 







Lytle, William 1 6 April, 

Grant, Thomas 16 April, 

Porterfield, Dennis. .16 April, 

Hadley, Joshua 16 April, 

Walker, Solomon 16 April, 

Grant, Reuben. 16 April, 

Singletary, Richard. .16 April, 

Outlaw, Edward 16 April, 

Parker, Kedar 7 May, 

Jones, Samuel 6 June, 


Green, William. 6 June, 1776 

Dickinson, Richard 2 April, 1777 

Dixon, Charles 2 April, 1777 

Williams, Theophilus.2 April, 1777 

Mixon, Charles 2 April, 1777 

Saunders, William. . .2 April, 1777 

Shaw, Daniel 2 April, 1777 

Liscombe, John 28 April, 1777 

Cheesboro, John 25 April, 1779 




Hogun, James 26 Nov., 1776 | Mebane, Robert 9 Feb., 1777 

Brigadier General -. , I 


Mebane, Robert 27 Nov., 1776. 


Brewster, Lott 27 Nov., 1776 

(To 3d Regiment.) 

Fenuer, William 24 Oct. , 1777 

(From 2<I kfjjiment.) 



Dawes, Abraham 22 Dec., 1776 

Beeks, William Dec., 1777 


Harvey, James n Dec., 1776 

Guion, I-aac , 1777 

Baker, John June, 1778 


Dawes, Josiah 10 July, 


Bryan, Hardy n Dec., 

Hamilton, Hanse April. 


Brickell, Thomas 28 Nov., 

McGlaughan, John ..28 Nov., 

Poynter, John 28 Nov., 

Walker, Joseph 28 Nov., 

Bell, Green .28 Nov., 

Gotten, Josiah 28 Nov., 

Macon, John II Dec., 

Ely, Lemuel 17 Dec., 



Vaughan, James 19 Dec , 

DavvMjn. Henry .... .19 Dec., 

Baker, Jrhn 6 July, 

Dayley. Joshua 12 Oct., 

Ely. Eli.. 12 Oct., 

Feirebee. William I July, 

Walton, William I Aug., 

Hays, James.. 28 Nov., 1776 

Baker, John 28 Nov., 1776 

Lynch, John 28 Nov., 1776 

Powers, James 28 Nov., 1776 

Whedbee, Richard. -.28 Nov., 1776 

Wmborne, John 28 Nov , 1776 

Easoti, Seth 28 Nov.. 1776 

Wat.ion, Thoims 28 Nov., 1776 

Fcrrebec, William 28 Nov., 1776 

Banow, Samuel .. .28 Nov., 1776 

Vaughan, Jame, 28 Nov., 1776 

Macon, John 28 Nov., 1776 

Bryant, John, Jr 28 Nov., 1776 

Coleman.Thcophilus. 28 Nov., 1770 
Noblen, William 28 Nov.. 1776 

Mercer, John 28 Nov., 1776 

Dillon, Benjamin 28 Nov., 1776 

Caustiiuphen, Jamcs.28 Nov., 1776 

LasMUr. Jethro 28 Nov.. 1776 

Myrick, John... 28 Nov., 1776 

Blanton, Rowland 28 Nov., 1776 

Lynch, John 28 Nov , 1770 

Webb, Elisha 28 Nov., 1776 


Snowden, William. . .28 Nov., 

Ely, Eli ii Dec., 

Myrick, John n Dec., 

Moore, John 17 Dec., 

Dayley, Joshua 19 Dec., 

Harru-on, William 19 Dec., 

Ram>ay, Allen 19 Dec , 

Barrow. Jacob 22 Dec., 

Bailey, Benjamin 22 Dec., 

Walton. William 17 April, 

Joins, Thomas 15 Aug , 

Dillon, Benjamin .. 12 Oct , 

La>hitcr, Jethro 12 Oct , 

G^ e, Howell Ni v. . 


Biiley, Benjtmin 28 Nov . 

Uanison William II Dec., 

Sledge, Arthur 19 Dec , 

Whiiaker, Hud-on 22 Dec., 

Gee, Howell ... . 15 April, 

White, \\illinm 17 April, 

Jone>, Thomas 17 April, 

IJryan. Benjimin 27 April, 








Armstrong, James 26 Nov., 1776. 


Ingram, James 27 Nov., 1776 Dawson, Levy 19 Oct., 1777 

Lockhart, Samuel... Sept., 1777 Harney, Sclby 22 Nov . 1777 

(From 3d Regiment.) 


Harney, Selby .27 Nov., 1776. 


Bush, William 12 May, 1781 Graves. Francis i Sept.. 1777 

Bush, John 7 Aug., 1781 COMMISSARY. 

SURGEON. Green j oseph IX Dec t I7?6 

Loomis, Jonathan ...26 Nov., 1776 Blount, Jesse II Dec.. 1776 


Taylor, John 24 July, 1777 


Walsh, John 28 Nov. 1776 Waid, Edward 28 Nov., 1776 

Raiford, Robert 28 Nov. 1776 Tartanson, Francis. -.16 Jan., 1777 

Hargett, ' rederick ..28 Nov. 1776 Quinn, Michael I Aug., 1777 

Pope, Henry. 28 Nov. 1776 Dennis, William 2oSept.,i777 

Gurley, William 28 Nov. 1776 Chapman, Samuel 5 April, 1779 

May, James, Jr 28 Nov. 1776 Pearl, James 17 July, 1782 

Nixon, Thomas 28 Nov. 1776 


Williams, Nathaniel B., Godfrey, William 28 Nov. 1776 

28 Nov. 1776 Mills, James 28 Nov. 1776 

Quinn, Michael 28 Nov. 1776 Mills, Benjamin 28 Nov. 1776 

Dennis, William 28 Nov. 1776 Carraway, Gideon 28 Nov. 1776 

Chapman, Samuel 28 Nov. 1776 Resptss, Richard 28 Nov. 1776 

Foreman, Caleb 28 Nov. 1776 Bush. John ...8 Feb. 1777 

Greer, Robert 28 NOV. 1776 Messick, Jacob. 24 April 1777 

Jones, Philip 28 Nov. 1776 Langford. Alloway 'Aug. 1777 

Wood, Solomon 28 Nov. 1776 Bush, William 15 Aug. 1777 

McNaughton, John. .28 Nov. 1776 Owen, Stephen 15 Aug. 1777 

Rhodes, Josrph 28 Nov 1770 ; liollowell, Samuel. ..20 Sept. 1777 

Singletary, William.. 28 Nov. 7776 Graves. Francis .26 Oct. 1777 

Lewis, Joseph 28 Nov. 1776 Pearl, James 29 Oct. 1777 


Lanier, James, Jr 28 Nov., 1776 Respess, John 28 Nov., 1776 

Pearl, James 28 Nov., 1776 Custis, Thomas 28 Nov.. 1776 

Messick, Jacob 18 Nov., 1776 Bertie. Thomas . 28 Nov.. 1776 

Carpenter, Peter 28 Nov., 1776 Langford, Alloway 8 Feb., 1777 

Jones, Samuel 28 Nov., 1776 Bush, William 10 April 1777 

(48 3 ) 



Williams, John P..^. 26 Nov., 1776. 


Luttrell, John 27 Nov., 1776. 


Polk, William 27 Nov. , 1 776. 



McSheehy, Miles 12 Feb., 1777 

Nuthall, Nathaniel- ..26 May, 1777 

Johnston, Lancelot ..22 Dec., 1776 


Dent, William u Dec., 1776 

Guion, Isaac 1 1 Dec., 1776 


McCrory, Thomas 28 Nov, 

Cook, Richard D 28 Nov. 

Ramsay, Matthew 28 Nov, 

Wade, Joseph J 28 Nov, 

Rochell, John .28 Nov. 

Brown, Morgan 28 Nov, 

Bullock, Daniel 28 Nov, 

Brevard, John 28 Nov. 

Daniel, James 28 Nov 

Johnson, Joshua 28 Nov. 

Dickerson, Nathaniel, 28 Nov. 

Neal, William 28 Nov. 

Rochell, Lovick 28 Nov. 

Sharpe, Anthony 28 Nov. 

Williams, Ralph 28 Nov. 

Stewart, George 28 Nov. 

Spratt, Thomas 28 Nov. 

Ferrall, Micajah 28 Nov. 

Clark, Thomas 28 Nov. 

Brice, Peter 28 Nov. 

T 3 earce, George .28 Nov. 

Smith, John .28 Nov. 

Coleman, John 28 Nov. 

Thomas, John 28 Nov. 

Hicks, William... ..28 Nov. 


Rice, Hezekiah 28 Nov., 1776 

Brevard, Joel 28 Nov., 1776 

Henderson, Michael-28 Nov., 1776 

Hafl, James May, 1777 

Sharp, Anthony 24 Aug., 1777 




Reese, George 28 Nov. 

Harris, West 28 Nov. 

Ross, Francis 28 Nov. 

Yancey, Charles 28 Nov. 

Hart, Samuel .28 Nov. 

Stewart, Joseph 28 Nov. 

Covington, James 28 Nov. 

Dobbins, Hugh 

Lewis, William March 

Tatum, James I Jan. 

Clark, Thomas -_i Feb. 



Moore, Robert 28 Nov., 

Johnston, Joseph 28 Nov., 

Little, William 6 Dec., 

Rice, Jeptha -.15 March, 

Nuthall, Nathaniel 20 May, 

McRory, James 2 May, 

Tatum, James 12 Aug., 

Washington, William, 15 Aug., 









Shepard, Abraham _. 17 April, 1777. 




Green, James W 7 Dec., 1779 

Fergus, James 2O Aug., 1782 

Moore, William .....ig Jan., 1778 

Green, James W 10 June, 1778 

Forgus, James 21 Feb., 1782 

Bull, Thomas , 1782 

Maclaine, William 1 Jan., 1783 


Verrier, James. April, 1779 

Campbell, James 10 Sept., 1779 

Graves^ Francis 6 Nov., 1778 

Steed, Jesse 13 July, 1781 


Herron, Armwell...., 19 April, 

Wilson, James ---- ...19 April, 

Gregory, Dempsy 19 April, 
Jarvis, John ..... 19 April, 

Moore, Isaac ....... 19 April. 

Vanoy,, Andrew _____ 19 April, 

Stevenson, Silas ..... 19 April, 


Rhodes, Joseph J i Aug. 

Shepard, William 20 Jan. 

Mills, James J une 

Campbell, James 14 Dec. 

Bacot, Peter 8 Sept. 

Jones, Samuel n Sept. 

Moore, Elijah . 13 Oct. 


Barber, William 19 April, 1777 

Cook, George 19 April, 1777 

Cannon, Lewis 19 April, 1777 

Campbell, James 19 April, 1777 

Koen, Caleb 19 April, 1777 

Lowe, John 19 April, 1777 

McCauley, Matthew.ig April, 1777 
Nicholson, Robert.. .19 April, 1777 
Rountree, Reuben 19 April, 1777 

Jones, Timothy 19 April, 1777 

Ferebee. Joseph 5 May, 1777 

Ferrell, William 8 Sept., 1777 

Jones, Samuel 4 Oct., 1777 

Hays, Robert 9 Oct., 1777 

Moore, Elijah 12 Oct., 1777 

Graves, Francis 26 Oct., 1777 

Cooper, Solomon 20 Jan., 1778 

Faircloth, William.. .20 Jan., 1778 
Catling, Levy. 12 Feb., 1778 

Wright, David 15 Feb., 

Varcaze, James 17 March, 

Southall, Stephen r April, 

Lawrence, Nathaniel. . I June, 
Snowden, Nathaniel ..5 June, 

Wallace, James 30 Nov., 

Ferrell, Luke L. , 

Turner, Robert , 

Dillain, John Feb., 

Cowan, David 20 March, 

Morehead, James ..23 March, 

Campbell, John 20 April, 

Dudley. Thomas 20 June, 

Lord, William 1 Aug., 

Lewis, Joel I Aug., 

Hargrave, William_3O March, 

Foard, John , 

Ashe, Saml 23 Jan. , 

Pye'att, Peter 30 March, 






Brevard, Joseph I Aug., 1781 

Dixon, Wynn 5 July, 1781 

Hill, John... .5 July, 1781 

Scurlock, James i Sepi., 1781 

Bell, Robert 8 Sept., 1781 

Alexander, William. . .8 Sept., 1781 

Steed, Jesse 8 Sept., 1781 

Holmes, Hardy , 1781 

Williams, Nathaniel .. Jan., 1782 


Wright, David 19 April, 1777 

Shute, Thomas 19 April, 1777 

McRenolds, Robert .19 April, 1777 

Hays, Robert 16 Aug., 1777 

Richardson, John I Oct., 1777 

Cawall, Butler , 

Singleton, Robert , 

Catling, Levy , 

Hargrave, William 2Ojan., 1778 

Orrell, Thomas 14 March, 1778 

Mossom, Richard 4 Sept., 1778 

Foard, John 30 Nov., 1778 

Charlton, William. .14 March, 1779 

Gibson, Thomas 20 Feb., 1780 

Dixon, Wynn I March, 1781 

Hill, John 4 April, 1781 

Daves, John 6 May, 1781 

Brevard, Joseph 9 May, 1781 

Alexander, William.. 10 May, 1781 

Bell, Robert 18 May, 1781 

Steed, Jesse I June, 1781 


Kingsbury, John, Captain 19 July, 1777 

Jones, Philip, Captain-Lieutenant 19 July, 1777 

Wall, James, 1st Lieutenant 19 July, 1777 

Vance, John Curton, 2d Lieutenant. 19 July, 1777 

Douglass, Robert, 3d Lieutenant 19 July, 1777 


[Inasmuch as the formation of " The Guilford Battle Ground Company " led to the 
production of this book, I deem it proper to include the charter and organization 
of that company. It now owns the battle-field, about 70 acres.] 


The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact : 

SECTION i. That for the benevolent purpose of preserving and 
adorning the grounds on and over which the battle of " Guilford 
Court-House" was fought on the I5th day of March, 1781, and the 
erection thereon of monuments, tombstones, or other memorials to 
commemorate the heroic deeds of the American patriots who partici- 
pated in this battle for liberty and independence, it is enacted that 
J. W. Scott, Thomas B. Keogh, Julius A. Gray, Dr. D. W. C. Benbow 
and David Schenck be and are hereby declared to be a private cor- 
poration, until their successors are elected, by the name of the 

SEC. 2. That the capital stock of said company shall not exceed 
twenty-five thousand dollars, to be divided into shares of twenty-five 
(25) dollars each. That when ten shares or more of said capital stock 
are subscribed, and ten per cent, thereof paid in, the stockholders 
may meet and elect not less than five nor more than nine directors of 
said company, by a majority vote of said stockholders, who shall suc- 
ceed the persons hereinbefore named as corporators ; and this board 
of directors, so elected, shall elect one of their number President. 
The stockholders may also elect any other officers of the company 
they may deem proper and necessary. 

SEC. 3. The " Guilford Battle Ground Company " shall have power 
to contract, and sue and be sued by its corporate name ; may have a 
common seal, and exercise all the ordinary and general powers of a 
private corporation of this kind. It shall have power to acquire, by 
gift, grant, or purchase, the title to all the lands on or over which the 
said battle of "Guilford Court-House" was fought, or any part 
thereof or adjacent lands thereto not exceeding one hundred acres, 
or rights of way or other easements of land, or water necessary or 
convenient for the proper enjoyment of said land. It may erect 
houses thereon for use or ornament ; erect monuments, tombstones 
or other memorials ; may adorn the grounds and walks ; supply the 
grounds with water ; plant trees, flowers and shrubs thereon, and do 
any other like things for the improvement and beautifying of the 
property. It may allow the United States, or any State or corpora- 
tion or individual, to erect any monument, tombstone or other memo- 
rial, or any ornament or useful improvement thereon, to carry out 


the purposes of this act, on such terms as may be agreed upon by the 
parties. It may receive gifts or aid from the United States,' any 
State, corporation or individual, or agree with them to make any 
improvement thereon. Any city, town or other municipal corpora- 
tion or any other corporation may subscribe to the capital .stock of 
the said company, or make donations to the same ; it may make all 
necessary by-laws, rules and regulations, not inconsistent with the 
constitution and laws of the State, for the proper care, protection and 
regulation of the property of the company and the monuments, tomb- 
stones, memorials, nouses and other property and ornaments and 
adornments thereon, or for the protection of the trees, flowers, shrub- 
bery, walks, lawns, springs, wells or other like property thereon. 
That the principal office of the company shall be in Greensboro, 
North Carolina. 

SEC. 4. It shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by fine and impris- 
onment, if any person or corporation shall wilfully destroy, demolish, 
deface or misuse any monument, tombstone or other memorial, or 
any fence, enclosure, tree, shrub, flower, spring, well, or any orna- 
ment or adornment placed upon the grounds, or any tree growing 
thereon, or shall wilfully deface, destroy or demolish any house, 
pavilion or like fixtures thereon, or shall wilfully trespass on the 
grounds after being notified not to do so, or shall wilfully obstruct 
the ways and walks of the company leading to or over the grounds. 

SEC. 5. This act shall be in force from and after its ratification. 

Ratified the 7th day of March, A. D. 1887. 


The first meeting of the Stockholders of the " Guilford Battle 
Ground Company " was held in Greensboro, N. C., on the 6th day of 
May, A. D. 1887, in the parlor of the Benbow House. 

At that meeting, it appearing that upwards of ten shares of stock 
had been subscribed and more than ten per cent, paid in, the stock- 
holders were called to order, Hon. D. Schenck elected President, and 
Thomas B. Keogh requested to act as Secretary. 

The President stated the object of the meeting to be to organize a 
company to raise funds to purchase, reclaim and beautify the ground 
upon which the battle of Guilford Court-House was fought, March 
15, 1781, as recited in the charter of the "Guilford Battle Ground 

The charter was read and accepted, and ordered recorded in the 
report of the proceedings. 

After discussion of various details, the election of a Board of Direc- 
tors was proceeded with, which resulted as follows : 

Hon. D. Schenck, Julius A. Gray, Dr. D. W. C. Benbow, J. W. 
Scott and Thomas B. Keogh. 

The Board elected as the officers of the company : 

Hon. D. SCHENCK, President, Greensboro, N. C.; THOMAS B. 
KEOGH, Secretary, Greensboro, N. C.; J. W. SCOTT, Treasurer, 
Greensboro, N. C. 






Furnishes twelve thousand dollars for the King's Mountain 
campaign . 133 

ALEXANDER, ELIAS, Revolutionary Soldier : 

Humorous anecdote of 151 

ANDERSON, MAJOR, of Maryland : 

Brings away only organized force from Gates' defeat 93 

Killed at Guilford Court-House 93 


APPENDIX B _.... 486 


Letter to Colonel William Campbell . 307 


Captain in second Continental regiment 21 

Letters to General Sumner 428-429, 434 

Commands battalion at Eutaw Springs 451 


Defeated at Briar Creek March 3d, 1779 34 

Betrayed by his servant and captured ; died in October, 1781, 34 


Captain in Wilmington District 25 

Marches to join Greene July I7th, 1781 437 

Commands battalion at Eutaw Springs, Sept. 8th, 1781.- . 451 


Surrendered to American forces, 5th June, 1781 419-421 

North Carolina militia storm Fort Grierson 417 


Camden, August 1 6th, 1780 88 

Charlotte, defence of, September 26th, 1780 . 106 

Cowan's Ford, February ist, 1780 ,. . 240 

Cowpens, January 1 7th, 1781 209-210 

Eutaw Springs, September 8th, 1781 448 

Guilford Court- House, March I5th, 1781 293 

Hanging Rock, August 5th, 1780 69 

Hpbkirk's Hill, April 25th, 1781 401-402 

King's Mountain, October 7th, 1780 156 to 174 

Musgrove's Mill, August igth, 1780 79 

Pyle's defeat, February 25th, 1781 278 

Siege of Charleston, April 2, May, 1780 32 

Siege of Ninety-Six, June i8th, 1781 423 

Whitsill's Mill, March 6th, 1781..- 289 


Captain from Newbern District 24 

Command battalion at Eutaw Springs ._ 451 

Letter to General Sumner 438 





Command massacred by Tarleton 45 


At Guilford Court-House 304 

Mentioned 467 


Letter in regard to Colonel Alexander Martin's trial 31 

Captured by Fanning .. 445 


Commands at King's Mountain 141 

Joins Greene with 60 men, March, 1781 308 

At Guilford Court-House 324 


Joins Greene 272 

Killed at Eutaw Springs .. 461 


Surveys the Dan -.- 191 


Quoted - 338-339,350-352-353 


At Gates' defeat near Camden 88 

Flees with Gates to Charlotte 99 

At Halifax, February 23d, 1781 - 264 

Unfriendly to General Sumner 267-268 


Joins the pursuit of Ferguson 151 

Commands the men of Lincoln 159 

Killed at King's Mountain 167 

Romance of his life . 175 


Joins the over-mountain men at Quaker Meadows, October 

ist, 1780 .- 139 

His speech to his men .-. 145 

At King's Mountain.. 169 

Gets Ferguson's charger 175 


Left in command by Clinton, June 5th, 1780 47 

A heartless commander 48 

Arrives at Camden i4th August, 1780 87 

Marches to North Carolina September 7th, 1780 102 

Denounces Charlotte 115 

Retreats from Charlotte .. -- 180 

Sick in the Waxhaws 182 

At Turkey Creek January I7th, 1781 226 

His fatal delay and tardiness in not following Morgan 230 

Reaches Ramsour's Mill 25th January, 1781 232 

Leaves Ramsour's Mill 28th January 232 

Burns his heavy baggage 233 

Deceived by Greene 258 

At Hillsboro.- -- .-. 261 

Narrow escape at Guilford Court-House 376 

Retreat of 390 

Horse shot under him 376 



Members of . 269 


Assembles militia after Gates' defeat 100 

Killed at Cowan's Ford, February ist, 1781.- 242 

Killed by Frederick Hager, a Tory 242 


At Hanging Rock 69 

Defends Charlotte 106 

Appointed Commissary General 192 

Sketch of his character 64 



Death of 92 

Gallantry of . 92 


Captain in First Regiment 21 

Conspicuous bravery at Gates' defeat 89 

Pet of the soldiers 94 

Tribute to 466 


Prayer before battle of King's Mountain 136 

DUNLAP, MAJOR, in British army : 

Wounded 126 

Revengeful attack upon him for his infamous conduct 128 

Killed -_- 129 


Captain in Continental army 23 

Reorganizes the Guilford militia 394 

Joins Greene i6th May, 1781 399 

Killed at Fort Grierson, Augusta 418 


At Guilford Court-House 305 

Sketch of 306 


Sketch of 117 

Inventor of breech-loading rifle 117 

Famous pistol shot 118 

Killed at King's Mountain .__ 170 


Death at Guilford Court-House 378 

Anecdote of 351 

His gallantry in battle .- 352 


Killed at Hobkirk's Hill.- 406 

FRANCISCO, PETER, the Giant : 

Kills eleven men at Guilford Court-House .-_-~ 365 


At Guilford Court-House . 301 




Defeat at Camdeii 94 

Flight to Charlotte 95 

Rides a famous racer . 95 

Superseded by General Greene 186 


The humorous American spy ^... 155 

Anecdote of 158 

GRAHAM, MAJOR JOSEPH, of Lincoln County : 

Severely wounded near Charlotte 113 

Sketch of . 466 

Fight at Hart's Mill 275 

At Pyle's defeat 278 


Assumes command of the Southern army, Dec. 4th, 1780 186 

Sketch of 186-187 

At Camp Repose 197 

Perilous journey from Camp Repose to join Morgan, January 

28th, 1781 232 

His cordial relations with Morgan 232 

Letter from Sherrill's Ford, February 3oth, 1781 249 

Narrow escape from capture -. 251 

Mrs. Steele presents him some gold, anecdote of 252 

Forms a junction with Huger at Guilford Court-House 254 

Crosses the Dan, I4th February, 1781 259 

Recrosses the Dan to North Carolina, February 23d, 1781-.- 273 

Selection of Guilford Court-House as a battle-field ' 320 

Orders North Carolina militia at Guilford Court-House to fire 

two rounds and retreat -- 335 

Narrow escape at Guilford Court-House 378 

Begins pursuit of Cornwallis 389 

Rescues the artillery at Hobkirk's Hill . 408 

At Eutaw Springs 450 


Wounded at Camden . 93 

And captured , 98 


Battle of 293 

Defence of North Carolina militia at this battle 337 et seq 


Wounded at King's Mountain 168 


Desert at Ramsour's Mill , 234 

Character of.-- 314 

Contract for their hire 314-315 


Quarrel with General Williams 144 


Colonel of the 7th regiment . 29 

Appointed Brigadier General 31 

Commands at Charleston . 42 



HOWARD, COLONEL, of Maryland : 

Commands regiment at Cowpens 210 

Charge at Guilford Court-House 367 


Diary of March, 1781 347 

Account of battle of Guilford Court-House 348 

His character 347 


Duel with Gadsden 33 


Joins Morgan and Greene at Guilford Court-House 254 

Commands brigade at that battle 311 

JEFFERSON, THOMAS, Governor of Virginia : 

Letter of, in regard to militia at Guilford Court-House 354 

KIRKWOOD, CAPTAIN, of Delaware : 

Sketch of 323 


The crippled spy 154 


Surveys the Catawba _ 191 


Goes to Campbell's camp on Greene River 153 


Joins Greene at Camp Repose 198 

Description of his Legion 198 

Character of 199 

At Guilford Court-House . 368 

Errors as a historian 358 

LESLIE, MAJOR GENERAL, British army : 

Commands the right at Guilford Court-House 330 


Succeeds General Howe in the South 33 

Commands at Charleston 40 

LOCKE, COLONEL, of Rowan County : 

Marches to Ramsour's Mill 55 

Commands regiment of infantry under Pickens 262 


Commands battalion at Guilford Court-House 309 

Originator of lynch law 310 


In Greene's army 384 

Eulogy on, by Senator Benton 384 

MALMEDY, COLONEL, French Nobleman : 

Commands North Carolina militia at Eutaw Springs 450 


Joins Greene September, 1781 . 446 

Commands brigade at Eutaw 450 



MAJORIBANKS, MAJOR, in British army : 

Skill and gallantry at Eutaw 457 

Death of 460 


Appointed Lieutenant Colonel 21 

Appointed Colonel 22 

Defence of 29 

Member of Council Extraordinary 269 


Killed at King's Mountain 168 

McARTHUR, COLONEL, in British army : 

Surrender at Cowpens 217 


Joins General Morgan 200 


Attacks detachment of Ferguson's corps at Bedford Hill 126 

Campaign in 1780 to Musgrove's Mill 76 

Sketch of 465 

His home .. 139 

McDowELL, MAJOR JOSEPH, of Quaker Meadows, Burke County : 

Commands the Burke men at King's Mountain 142-170 

At Ramsour's Mill 57 

Sketch of 464 

At Cowpens 200-210 

MCDOWELL, CAPTAIN JOSEPH, of Pleasant Garden, Burke County: 

At Cowpens 220 

Grave of 466 


Captured at King's Mountain 174 

Hung at Gilberttown 179 


Appointed Colonel 20 

Appointed Brigadier General .. 22 

Death of - 26 


Arrives at Hillsboro, North Carolina 184 

Gates gives him a separate command 184 

Sketch of 196 

Morgan detached to separate duty by General Greene 194 

At Cowpens 224 

Retreat from Cowpens . 226 

Crosses Sherrill's Ford on Catawba -. 230 

Disabled by rheumatism and retires from the army 257 

Letter to Greene about battle at Guilford Court-House 321 


Appointed Colonel of Regulars... 22 

Appointed Brigadier General.- .- 27 

Killed at German town -- 28 


Patriotic letter of, September loth, 1780 100 

Letter February 23d, 1781 264-265 

Sumner's letter to, about Caswell 267 



At Cowpens 200 

Johnson's error about 200-201 

Elect General Andrew Pickens to command them after Gen- 
eral Davidson's death 263 

Greene orders to fire two rounds, at Guilford Court-House, 

and then retire 335 

Reorganization of 394 

Under Major Eaton 395 

Assault Fort Grierson 417 

Five hundred of, join Greene on the Santee 441 

Fire seventeen rounds at Eutaw Springs 453 

Commanded by Colonel Malmedy 454 

Tribute to their courage 454 


Furnishes South Carolina regiments 441-442 

Colonel Williams, of South Carolina, recruits his regiment in 
Rowan County --_.. - 143 

O'HARA, GENERAL, of British army : 

At Trading Ford 253 

Wounded at Guilford Court-House 364 


Depot established at 393 


Captured 415 


Assemble at Sycamore Flats 134 

March 26th September, 1780 136 

Reach Quaker Meadows, 3Oth September, 1780 139 


Skirmish at 123 


Anecdote of 353 


Joins Morgan 200 

At Cowpens 210 

Selected to command North Carolina militia 263 

Commands at Augusta 416 

At Eutaw Springs 450 


Joins Pickens' forces February, 1781 - 307 


Exchange of, May, 1780 43 


Was physician, account of 282 


Graham's narrative of 51 

Grave of Captain Dodson at 62 




Leaves Camden 414 

Relieves Ninety-Six _. 423 

Captured at sea. 445 

READ, COLONEL JAMES, of North Carolina : 

Commands regiment of horse 391 

Remains with Greene 391 

Fine character of his troops. .... . .. 298 

Sketch of, by Hon. George Davis .... 299 


Deckhard Si 

Breech-loading, invented by Major Ferguson 82 

Against bayonets 161 


At Rees' farm, June I4th, 1780 51 

Pursues Tories 68 

Wounded at Camden 89 

Sketch of- 467 


Mentioned 430 


" Nollichucky Jack " 130 

At Sycamore Flats 134 

At King's Mountain 164 

Awarded Ferguson's sash 175 


Campaign 69 

Cedar Springs, at 78 

Musgrove's Mill, at 79 

At King's Mountain 165 

Gets Ferguson's large silver whistle 175 


Commands artillery at Guilford Court-House 311 

Says militia behaved " exceedingly well " at Guilford Court- 
House 355 

SMITH, CAPTAIN JOHN, of Maryland : 

Kills Colonel Stuart in personal combat at Guilford Court- 
House 367 

Sketch of 410 


Condition of, in i779-'8o 37 


Presents General Greene a small bag of gold -- 252 

STEVENS, GENERAL, of Virginia : 

Surveys the Yadkin 191 

Wounded at Guilford Court-House 362 


Encounter with Captain Smith - 367 

His sword exhumed in 1866 3^7 




Letter in regard to Guilford Court-House and North Carolina 
militia 349 


Arm cut off at massacte of Buford's men, sketch of 45, note. 


Collects scattered militia after defeat of Gates 100 

Superseded by General Smallwood _- 102 

Tenders his services to Caswell, which are not accepted 266 

Refuses to meet Caswell personally .... 267 

Caswell' s error in regard to . 268 

Mistakes of historians in regard to 426 

Efforts to raise new brigade of Regulars 427 et. seq 

Letters 428 

Appeal to the people 430 

Letter to Greene ' 431 

Letter to Baron Steuben .... 433 

Order to Colonel Ashe, July, 1781 437 

Letter to Governor Burke, I4th July, 1781 .,-- 437 

Reaches Hanging Rock August ist, 1781 438 

Estimate of his brigade of Regulars 439 

Courage and skill at Eutaw Springs 455 

Sketch of - 468 

SUMTER, GENERAL, of South Carolina : 

Defeats Tarleton at Blackstocks-- 186 


Massacre of Buford's men by 44, 206 

At Cowpens . .. 213 

Encounter with Colonel William Washington at Cowpens-- 217 

Character 206 

Wounded in the hand at Guilford Court-House 374 


Captures Lord Nairne on Pee Dee 82 


Skirmish at .. 245 


Captures Claremount 192 

At Hammond's Store 202 

At Cowpens 216-217 

Encounter with Tarleton . 217 

At Guilford Court-House 323 

At Hobkirk's Hill . 408 

Wounded and captured at Eutaw Springs *__ 457 


At Gates' defeat 88 

Wonderful escape at Whitsill's Mill 290 

Wounded at Guilford Court-House in the knee 364 

Account of his death 371 


Fight at 289 




Commands light troops 258 

At Guilford Court-House - . . _ . 327 


Killed at King's Mountain-. _. 169 


Soldier at King's Mountain and Eutaw vSprings 430 


At King's Mountain ._. 164 

Joins Greene February, 1781 300 

At Guilford Court-House __.__ 300 

Date Due 

3 1970 00127 1425